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0. HENRY MEMORIAL AWARD 

PRIZE STORIES 

o/1919 



CHOSEN BY THE SOCIETY OF 
ARTS AND SCIENCES 






WITH AN INTRODUCTION 

BY 

BLANCHE COLTON WILLIAMS 



GARDEN CITY NEW YORK 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 

1923 



COPYRIGHT, I920, BY 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION 

INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN 

Copyright, 1918, by Harper & Brothers. 

Copyright, 1919, by The Crowell Publishing Company, 
Street & Smith Corporation, The Atlantic Monthly Company, The 
Curtis Publishing Company, New Fiction Publishing Company, The 
Ridgway Company, The Ainslee Magazine Company, International 
Magazine Company, The Pictorial Review Company, The Century 
Company 

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES 

AT 

THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y. 



} ? 



FAGB 



£> CONTENTS 

H 

England to America. By Margaret Prescott 

zz Montague 3 

E " For They Know Not What They Do. By 

Wilbur Daniel Steele 21 

' They Grind Exceeding Small. By Ben Ames 

Williams 42 

On Strike. By Albert Payspn Terhune ... 56 

The Elephant Remembers. By Edison Marshall 78 

Turkey Red. By Frances Gilchrist Wood . . 105 
Five Thousand Dollars Reward. By Melville 

Davisson Post 120 

The Blood of the Dragon. By Thomas Grant 

Springer 135 

" Humoresque." By Fannie Hurst .... 148 

The Lubbeny Kiss. By Louise Rice . . . 180 
The Trial in Tom Belcher's Store. By Samuel 

A. Derieux 192 

Porcelain Cups. By James Branch Cabell . .210 
The High Cost of Conscience. By Beatrice 

Ravenel 228 

The Kitchen Gods. By G. F. Alsop . . . 253 

April 25TH, As Usual. By Edna Ferber . . 274 



INTRODUCTION 

On April 18, 1918, the Society of Arts and Sciences 
of New York City paid tribute to the memory of William 
Sydney Porter at a dinner in honour of his genius. In 
the ball-room of the Hotel McAlpin there gathered, at 
the speakers' table, a score of writers, editors and pub- 
lishers who had been associated with O. Henry during 
the time he lived in Manhattan; in the audience, many 
others who had known him, and hundreds yet who loved 
his short stories. 

Enthusiasm, both immediate and lasting, indicated to 
the Managing Director of the Society, Mr. John F. 
Tucker, that he might progress hopefully toward an 
ideal he had, for some time, envisioned. The goal lay 
in the establishing of a memorial to the author who had 
transmuted realistic New York into romantic Bagdad- 
by-the-Subway. 

When, therefore, in December, 1918, Mr. Tucker called 
a committee for the purpose of considering such a 
memorial, he met a glad response. The first question, 
" What form shall the monument assume ? " drew tenta- 
tive suggestions of a needle in Gramercy Square, or a 
tablet affixed to the corner of O. Henry's home in West 
Twenty-sixth Street. But things of iron and stone, cold 
and dead, would incongruously commemorate the dyna- 
mic power that moved the hearts of living men and 
women, " the master pharmacist of joy and pain," who 
dispensed " sadness tinctured with a smile and laughter 
that dissolves in tears." 

In short, then, it was decided to offer a minimum 
prize of $250 for the best short story published in 191 <>, 
and the following Committee of Award was appointed: 

Blanche Colton Williams, Ph.D. 
Edward J. Wheeler, Litt.D. 
Ethel Watts Mumford 
Robert Wilson Neal, M.A. 
Merle St. Croix Wright, D.D. 
vii 



viii INTRODUCTION 

It is significant that this committee had no sooner begun 
its round table conferences than the Society promised, 
through the Director, funds for two prizes. The first 
was fixed at $500, the second at $250. 

At a meeting in January, 1919, the Committee of 
Award agreed upon the further conditions that the story 
must be the work of an American author, and must first 
appear in 1919 in an American publication. At the same 
time an Honorary Committee was established, composed 
of writers and editors, whose pleasure it might be to 
offer advice and propose stories for consideration. The 
Honorary Committee consisted of 

Gertrude Atherton 
Edward J. O'Brien 
Fannie Hurst 
John Macy 
Burges Johnson 
Mrs. Edwin Markham 
Robert Morss Lovett 
John S. Phillips 
William Marion Reedy 
Virginia Roderick 
Walter Roberts 
Charles G. Norris 
Edward E. Hale 
Max Eastman 
Charles Caldwell Dobie 
Margaret Sherwood 
Hamlin Garland 
James Branch Cabell 
Stuart P. Sherman 
William Allen White 
Stephen Leacock 
Major Rupert Hughes 
Eugene Manlove Rhodes 

The Committee of Award read throughout the year, 
month by month, scores of stories, rejecting many, de- 
bating over others, and passing up a comparative few 
for final judgment. In January, out of the hundred or 
more remaining, they salvaged the following; 



INTRODUCTION ix 

1. The Kitchen Gods, by Guglielma Alsop {Century, 

September). 

2. Facing It, by Edwina Stanton Babcock {Pictorial 

Review, June). 

3. The Fairest Sex, by Mary Hastings Bradley {Metro- 

politan, March). 

4. Bargain Price, by Donn Byrne {Cosmopolitan, 

March). 

5. Porcelain Cups, by James Branch Cabell {Century, 

November). 

6. Gum Shoes, 4-B, by Forrest Crissey {Harper's, 

December). 

7. The Trial in Tom Belcher's Store, by Samuel A. 

Derieux {American, June). 

8. April Twenty-fifth As Usual, by Edna Fcrber 

{Ladies Home Journal, July). 

9. The Mottled Slaver, by George Gilbert {Sunset, 

August ). 

10. Dog Eat Dog, by Ben Hccht {The Little Review, 

April). 

11. Blue Ice, by Joseph f ler^csheimcr {Saturday / ;<- 

ning Post, I December 13), 
1 j. Innocence, by Rupert Hughes (Cosmopolitan, Sep- 
tember ). 

13. Humoresque, by Fannie Hurst {CosmopoUi 

March ). 

14. The Yellow Streak, by Ellen La Motte (Century, 

March). 

15. The Elephant Remembers, by Edi on Marshall 

(/ ;■, -ryhody's. i >etuber ). 

16 England to America, by Margaret Preacott Mon- 
tague ( Atlantic, Se p tem ber ). 

17. Five Thou and 1 )<i!l.i Melville D. P 

(Saturday 1 
iX. The Ltsbbeny Kiss, by Loui e Rice {Am I ( >c- 

tobei ) 
it The I [igh Cost of ( bj B 

(Harper's, |;iir 

20. The Red Mark, bj fohn Ru 

81, The 1 raj», \>\ M) I 



x INTRODUCTION 

22. Evening Primroses, by Anne D. Sedgwick (Atlantic, 

July). 

23. Autumn Crocuses, by Anne D. Sedgwick (Atlantic, 

August). 

24. The Blood of the Dragon, by Thomas Grant Springer 

(Live Stories, May). 

25. Contact, by Wilbur Daniel Steele (Harper's, March). 

26. For They Know not What They Do, by Wilbur 

Daniel Steele (Pictorial Review, July). 

27. La Guiablesse, by Wilbur Daniel Steele (Harper's, 

September). 

28. On Strike, by Albert Payson Terhune (The Popular 

Magazine, October). 

29. The Other Room, by Mary Heaton Vorse (McCall's, 

April). 

30. They Grind Exceeding Small, by Ben Ames Williams 

Saturday Evening Post, September 13). 

31. On the Field of Honour, by Ben Ames Williams 

(American, March). 

32. Turkey Red, by Frances Gilchrist Wood (Pictorial 

Review, November). 

Although the exiguity of the vessel forbids inclusion 
of all these stories, yet the Committee wish to record 
them as worthy of preservation under covers. Publish- 
ing by title, therefore, carries all the honour attached to 
publishing the complete story. 

Awarding the prizes proved difficult. No title stood 
first on all the lists: rated best by one judge, any story 
lost rank through lower rating by another. But the 
following held from first place to fifth place on the 
separate final lists : " La Guiablesse," " England to 
America," " For They Know not What They Do," " Eve- 
ning Primroses," " Autumn Crocuses," " Humoresque," 
" The Red Mark," " They Grind Exceeding Small," " On 
Strike," " The Elephant Remembers," " Contact," and 
" Five Thousand Dollars Reward." It will be observed 
that three of Wilbur Daniel Steele's narratives appear. 
If the prize had been announced as going to the author 
of more stories rated first, he would have received it. 
But by the predetermined conditions, it must fall to the 



INTRODUCTION xi 

author of the best story, and according to a recognized 
system of counts,* the best is " England to America " ; 
the second best, " For They Know not What They Do." 
The first award, therefore, goes to Miss Margaret Pres- 
cott Montague; the second to Mr. Wilbur Daniel Steele. 

The Committee were remarkably unanimous in an- 
swering the question, " What is a short-story ? " ; but they 
differed, rather violently, over the fulfilment of require- 
ments by the various illustrations. Without doubt, the 
most provocative of these was Mr. Steele's " Contact." 
Three of the Committee think it a short-story; two de- 
clare it an article; all agree that no finer instance of 
literature in brief form was published in 1919. 

Their diverging views, however, challenged curiosity: 
what did the publishers think about it? The editor of 
Harper's wrote: 

" Contact " was written by Mr. Steele after a personal visit 
to the North Sea fleet. It is a faithful portrayal of the work 
done by our destroyers and therefore falls under the category 
of "articles." 

And the author : 

I am not quite sure what to say. The piece, " Contact," of 
which you speak, was in a sense drawn from life, that is to 
say it is made up of a number of impressions gained while I 
was at sea with the U. S. destroyers off the coast of France. 
The characters are elaborations of real characters, and the 
"contact" told of was such a one as I actually witnessed. 
Otherwise, the chronology of events, conversations, etc., were 
gathered from various sources and woven to the best of my 
ability so as to give a picture of the day's work of our con- 
voying forces in the War. 

These data reconcile, in part, the conflicting points of 
view, or at least show the tenability of each. 

In addition to the first requisite of struggle, "the 

*Sincc there were five fudges, the system used was the following! 
A story of place I was given 5 point! 

tl M <• " a •• <• " 

M M << << << " " 

«< << «« «« \ •« «• •< 

m « .« «• s « «• 1 point. 



xii INTRODUCTION 

story's the thing," the judges sought originality, excel- 
lence in organization of plot incidents, skill in characteri- 
zation, power in moving emotions — and, again, they dif- 
fered over their findings. One member would have 
awarded the prize to " La Guiablesse " on its original 
motif — a ship is jealous of a woman — on its masterful 
employment of suggestion, unique presentation of events, 
and on all the other counts. Another, while recognizing 
the essential bigness of the tale, regards it as somewhat 
crudely constructed and as extending the use of sugges- 
tion into the mist of obscurity. 

Or, take characterization. Mary Hastings Bradley's 
" The Fairest Sex " represents, in the climax, a reporter's 
fiancee betraying the whereabouts of a young woman 
who is, technically, a criminal. One of the Committee 
held that, under the circumstances, the psychology is 
false ; others " believed " that particular girl did that 
particular thing. 

Best narrative always compels belief : the longer the 
period of belief the greater the story. This business 
of convincing the reader requires more labour than the 
average writer seems to care about performing. Any 
reader is willing to be held — for a time. But how many 
stories compel recollection of plot and characters as 
indubitably a part of all that one has met? 

Too frequently the writer neglects the value of at- 
mosphere, forgetful of its weight in producing convic- 
tion. The tale predominantly of atmosphere (illustrated 
in the classic " Fall of the House of Usher "), revealing 
wherever found the ability of the author to hold a domi- 
nant mood in which as in a calcium light characters and 
acts are coloured, this tale occurs so rarely as to challenge 
admiration when it does occur. " For They Know not 
What They Do " lures the reader into its exotic air 
and holds him until he, too, is suffused, convinced. 

. . . The Committee were not insensible to style. 
But expert phrasing, glowing appreciation of words and 
exquisite sense of values, the texture of the story fabric 
— all dropped into the abyss of the unimportant after the 
material they incorporated had been judged. No man 
brings home beefsteak in silk or sells figs as thistles* 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

The Committee accepted style as the fit medium for 
conveying the matter. . . . 

Since the Committee confess to catholicity of taste, 
the chosen stories reveal predilection for no one type. 
They like detective stories, and particularly those of 
Melville Davisson Post. A follower of the founder 
of this school of fiction, he has none the less advanced 
beyond his master and has discovered other ways than 
those of the Rue Morgue. " Five Thousand Dollars 
Reward " in its brisk action, strong suspense, and humor- 
ous denouement carries on the technique so neatly 
achieved in " The Doomdorf Mystery " and other tales 
about Uncle Abner. 

The Committee value, also, the story about animals: 
universal interest in puzzles, in the science of ratio- 
cination, is not more pronounced than the interest in 
rationalizing the brute. " The Mottled Slayer " and 
" The Elephant Remembers " offer sympathetic studies 
of struggles in the animal world. Mr. Marshall's white 
elephant will linger as a memory, even as his ghost re- 
mains, longer than the sagacious play-fellow of Mr. Gil- 
bert's little Indian ; but nobody can forget the battle the 
latter fought with the python. 

For stories about the home the Committee have a 
weakness: Miss Ferber's " April Twenty-fifth As Usual," 
cheerfully proclaiming the inevitableness of spring clean- 
ing, might be published with the sub-title, An Epic of the 
Housekeeper. 

They were alert for reflections of life — in America 
and elsewhere. The politics of "Gum Shoes, 4-B "; tin- 
local court of law in " Tom Belcher's Store " ; the frozen 
west of "Turkey Red" seemed to them to meet the 
demand that art must hold the mirror up to nature. 

In particular, the Committee hoped to find good stories 
of the war. Now that fiction containing anything 0! 
the Great Struggle is anathema to editors, and must wait 
for that indefinite time of its revival, it was like getting 
a last bargain to read "Facing It," " Humoresque, 
"Contact," "Autumn Crocuses," and "England to 
America." In these small masterpieces is celebrated 
either manhood which keeps a rendezvous with death, 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

womanhood which endures, or the courage of men and 
women which meets bodily misfortune and the anguish 
of personal loss. Leon Kantor of " Humoresque " and 
the young Virginian of " England to America " will bring 
back, to all who read, their own heroes. It is fitting 
that Miss Montague's story should have received the 
first prize : poignant, short in words, great in significance, 
it will stand a minor climactic peak in that chain of 
literature produced during the actual progress of the 
World War. 

In the estimation of the Committee the year 1919 was 
not one of pre-eminent short stories. Why? There are 
several half-satisfactory explanations. Some of the ac- 
knowledged leaders, seasoned authors, have not been 
publishing their average annual number of tales. Alice 
Brown, Donn Byrne, Irvin Cobb, Edna Ferber, Katharine 
Gerould, Fannie Hurst and Mary W. Freeman are rep- 
resented by spare sheaves. Again, a number of new 
and promising writers have not quite attained sureness 
of touch; although that they are acquiring it is manifest 
in the work of Ben Ames Williams, Edison Marshall, 
Frances Wood, Samuel Derieux, John Russell, Beatrice 
Ravenel and Myra Sawhill. Too frequently, there is " no 
story " : a series of episodes however charmingly strung 
out is not a story ; a sketch, however clever or humorous, 
is not a story; an essay, however wisely expounding a 
truth, is not a story. So patent are these facts, they 
are threadbare from repetition ; yet of them succeeding 
aspirants seem to be as ignorant as were their predecessors 
— who at length found knowledge. For obvious reasons, 
names of authors who succeed in a certain literary form 
but who produce no story are omitted. 

Again, some stories just miss the highest mark. A 
certain one, praised by a magazine editor as the best 
of the year, suffers in the opinion of the Committee, 
or part of the Committee, from an introduction too long 
and top-heavy. It not only mars the symmetry of the 
whole, this introduction, but starts the reader in the 
wrong direction. One thing the brief story must not 
do is to begin out of tone, to promise what it does not 



INTRODUCTION xv 

fulfil, or to lead out a subordinate character as though 
he were chief. . . . Another story suffers from plethora 
of phrasing, and even of mere diction. Stevenson be- 
lieved few of his words too precious to be cut: con- 
temporary writers hold their utterances in greater es- 
teem. ... A third story shows by its obvious happy 
ending that the author has catered to magazine needs 
or what he conceives to be editorial policies. Such an 
author acquires a near " Smart Set " sparkle or a pseudo- 
Atlantic Monthly sobriety; he develops facility, but at 
the expense, ultimately, of conventionality, dullness and 
boredom. 

According to the terms which omit foreign authors 
from possible participation in the prize, the work of 
Achmed Abdullah, Britten Austin, Elinor Mordaunt and 
others was in effect non-existent for the Committee. 
" Reprisal," by Mr. Austin, ranks high as a specimen 
of real short-story art, strong in structure, rich in sugges- 
tion. " The Honourable Gentleman," by the mage from 
Afghanistan, in reflecting Oriental life in the Occident, 
will take its place in literary history. Elinor Mordaunt's 
modernized biblical stories — " The Strong Man," for in- 
stance — in showing that the cycles repeat themselves and 
that today is as one of five thousand years ago exemplify 
the universality of certain motifs, fables, characters. 

But, having made allowance for the truths just re- 
counted, the Committee believe that the average of stories 
here bound together is high. They respond to the test 
of form and of life. "The Kitchen Gods" grows from 
five years of service to the women of China — service by 
the author, who is a doctor of medicine. ' Porcelain 
Cups " testifies to the interest a genealogist finds in the 
Elizabethan Age and, more definitely, in the life of Chris- 
topher Marlowe. The hardships of David, in the story 
by Mr. Derieux, are those of a boy in a particular South- 
ern neighbourhood the author knows. Miss Louise Rice, 
who boasts a strain of Romany blood, spends part of 
her year with the gypsies. Mr. Terhune IS familiar, from 
the life, with his prototypes of "On Strike." "Turkey 
Red" relates a real experience, suited to fiction or to 
poetry — if Wordsworth was right — for it is an instance 



xvi INTRODUCTION 

of emotion remembered in tranquillity. In these and all 
the others, the story's the thing. 

Some of them, perhaps, were produced because their 
creators were consciously concerned about the art of 
creation. " Blue Ice," by Joseph Hergesheimer, pro- 
claims itself a study in technique, a thing of careful 
workmanship. " Innocence," by Rupert Hughes, with 
"Read It Again" and " The Story I Can't Write" 
boldly announce his desire to get the most out of the 
material. " For They Know not What They Do," an 
aspiration of spirit, is fashioned as firmly as the Wool- 
worth Tower. 

Just here it may be observed that the Committee no- 
ticed a tendency of the present day story which only the 
future can reveal as significant or insignificant. It is this : 
in spite of the American liking for the brief tale, as Poe 
termed it — the conte, as the French know it — in spite of 
an occasional call from magazines for stories of fewer 
than 5,000 words, yet the number of these narratives ap- 
proaching perfection is considerably less than that of the 
longer story. Whether the long short-story gives greater 
entertainment to the greater number may be questioned. 
To state that it is farthest from the practice of O. Henry 
invites a logical and inevitable conclusion. He wrote 
two hundred stories averaging about fifteen pages each. 
Whether it may be greater literature is another matter; 
if it escapes tediousness it may impress by its weight. 
If the Committee had selected for publication all the 
longest stories in the list of thirty-two, this volume would 
contain the same number of words, but only half the 
titles. 

The Honorary Committee expressed, some of them, 
to the Committee of Award certain preferences. William 
Marion Reedy wrote : " I read and printed one very 
good story called * Baby Fever.' I think it is one of 
the best short stories of the year." John Phillips, though 
stating that he had not followed short stories very closely, 
thought the best one he had read " The Theatrical Sen- 
sation of Springtown," by Bess Streeter Aldrich (Ameri- 
can, December). Mrs. Edwin Markham commended 
Charles Finger's " Canassa " (Reedy's Mirror, October 



INTRODUCTION xvii 

30). W. Adolphe Roberts submitted a number of stories 
from Ainslee's: "Young Love," by Nancy Boyd; "The 
Token from the Arena," by June Willard ; " The Light," 
by Katherine Wilson. He also drew attention to " Phan- 
tom," by Mildred Cram {Green Book, March). That 
the Committee of Award, after a careful study of these 
and other recommendations, failed to confirm individual 
high estimates is but another illustration of the disagree- 
ment of doctors. To all those of the Honorary Com- 
mittee who gave encouragement and aid the Committee 
of Award is most grateful. 

There remains the pleasure of thanking, also, the 
authors and publishers who have kindly granted permis- 
sion for the reprinting of the stories included in this 
volume. The Committee of Award would like them to 
know that renewal of the O. Henry prize depends upon 
their generous cooperation. 

Blanche Colton Williams. 

New York City, 

February 29, 1920. 



O. HENRY MEMORIAL 
AWARD 

PRIZE STORIES 

1919 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA 

By MARGARET PRESCOTT MONTAGUE 
From Atlantic Monthly 



t€ T ORD, but English people are funny ! " 

JLrf This was the perplexed mental ejaculation that 
young Lieutenant Skipworth Cary, of Virginia, found 
his thoughts constantly reiterating during his stay in 
Devonshire. Had he been, he wondered, a confiding fool, 
to accept so trustingly Chev Sherwood's suggestion that 
he spend a part of his leave, at least, at Bishopsthorpe, 
where Chev's people lived? But why should he have 
anticipated any difficulty here, in this very corner of 
England which had bred his own ancestors, when he 
had always hit it off so splendidly with his English 
comrades at the Front ? Here, however, though they 
were all awfully kind, — at least, he was sure they meant 
to be kind, — something was always bringing him up 
short : something that he could not lay hold of, but 
which made him feel like a blind man groping in a 
strange place, or worse, like a bull in a china-shop. 
He was prepared enough to find differences in the Amer- 
ican and English points of view. But this thing that 
baffled him did not seem to have to do with that; it 
was something deeper, something very definite, he was 
sure — and yet, what was it? The worst of it was that 
he had a curious feeling as if they were all — that is, 
Lady Sherwood and Gerald; not Sir Charles so much 
— protecting him from himself — keeping him from mak- 
ing breaks, as he phrased it. That hurt and annoyed 
him, and piqued his vanity. Was he a social blunderer, 
and weren't a Virginia gentleman's manners to be trusted 
in England without leading-strings? 

3 



4 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

He had been at the Front for several months with 
the Royal Flying Corps, and when his leave came, his 
Flight Commander, Captain Cheviot Sherwood, discov- 
ering that he meant to spend it in England, where he 
hardly knew a soul, had said his people down in Devon- 
shire would be jolly glad to have him stop with them; 
and Skipworth Cary, knowing that, if the circumstances 
had been reversed, his people down in Virginia would 
indeed have been jolly glad to entertain Captain Sher- 
wood, had accepted unhesitatingly. The invitation had 
been seconded by a letter from Lady Sherwood, — Chev's 
mother, — and after a few days sight-seeing in London, 
he had come down to Bishopsthorpe, very eager to know 
his friend's family, feeling as he did about Chev him- 
self. " He's the finest man that ever went up in the 
air," he had written home ; and to his own family's dis- 
gust, his letters had been far more full of Chev Sher- 
wood than they had been of Skipworth Cary. 

And now here he was, and he almost wished himself 
away — wished almost that he was back again at the 
Front, carrying on under Chev. There, at least, you 
knew what you were up against. The job might be 
hard enough, but it wasn't baffling and queer, with hid- 
den undercurrents that you couldn't chart. It seemed 
to him that this baffling feeling of constraint had rushed 
to meet him on the very threshold of the drawing-room, 
when he made his first appearance. 

As he entered, he had a sudden sensation that they 
had been awaiting him in a strained expectancy, and 
that, as he appeared, they adjusted unseen masks and 
began to play-act at something. " But English people 
don't play-act very well," he commented to himself, 
reviewing the scene afterward. 

Lady Sherwood had come forward and greeted him 
in a manner which would have been pleasant enough, 
if he had not, with quick sensitiveness, felt it to be 
forced. But perhaps that was English stiffness. 

Then she had turned to her husband, who was stand- 
ing staring into the fireplace, although, as it was June, 
there was no fire there to stare at. 

" Charles," she said, " here is Lieutenant Cary " ; and 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA 5 

her voice had a certain note in it which at home Cary 
and his sister Nancy were in the habit of designating 
" mother-making-dad-mind-his-manners." 

At her words the old man — and Cary was startled 
to see how old and broken he was — turned round and 
held out his hand. "How d'you do?" he said jerkily, 
" how d'you do ? " and then turned abruptly back again 
to the fireplace. 

" Hello ! What's up ! The old boy doesn't like me ! " 
was Cary's quick, startled comment to himself. 

He was so surprised by the look the other bent upon 
him that he involuntarily glanced across to a long mirror 
to see if there was anything wrong with his uniform. 
But no, that appeared to be all right. It was himself, 
then — or his country; perhaps the old sport didn't fall 
for Americans. 

" And here is Gerald," Lady Sherwood went on in 
her low remote voice, which somehow made the Vir- 
ginian feel very far away. 

It was with genuine pleasure, though with some sur- 
prise, that he turned to greet Gerald Sherwood, Chev's 
younger brother, who had been, tradition in the corps 
said, as gallant and daring a flyer as Chev himself, 
until he got his in the face five months ago. 

" I'm mighty glad to meet you," he said eagerly, in 
his pleasant, muffled Southern voice, grasping the hand 
the other stretched out, and looking with deep respect 
at the scarred face and sightless eyes. 

Gerald laughed a little, but it was a pleasant laugh, 
and his hand-clasp was friendly. 

"That's real American, isn't it?" he said. "I ought 
to have remembered and said it first. Sorry." 

Skipworth laughed too. " Well," he conceded, u wo 
generally are glad to meet people in my country, 
and we don't care who says it first. But/ 1 
added. " I didn't think I'd have the luck to find you 

here." 

He remembered that Chev had regretted that he prob- 
ably wouldn't see Gerald, as the latter wis at St. D 
Stan's, where they were re-educating the blinded soldic 

The other hesitated a moment, and then said rat!, r 



6 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

awkwardly, " Oh, I'm just home for a little while ; I 
only got here this morning, in fact." 

Skipworth noted the hesitation. Did the old people 
get panicky at the thought of entertaining a wild man 
from Virginia, and send an S O S for Gerald, he won- 
dered. 

" We are so glad you could come to us," Lady Sher- 
wood said rather hastily just then. And again he could 
not fail to note that she was prompting her husband. 

The latter reluctantly turned round, and said, " Yes, 
yes, quite so. Welcome to Bishopsthorpe, my boy," as 
if his wife had pulled a string, and he responded mechan- 
ically, without quite knowing what he said. Then, as 
his eyes rested a moment on his guest, he looked as if 
he would like to bolt out of the room. He controlled 
himself, however, and, jerking round again to the fire- 
place, went on murmuring, " Yes, yes, yes," vaguely — 
just like the dormouse at the Mad Tea-Party, who 
went to sleep, saying, " Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle," Cary 
could not help thinking to himself. 

But after all, it wasn't really funny, it was pathetic. 
Gosh, how doddering the poor old boy was ! Skipworth 
wondered, with a sudden twist at his heart, if the war 
was playing the deuce with his home people, too. Was 
his own father going to pieces like this, and had his 
mother's gay vivacity fallen into that still remoteness 
of Lady Sherwood's? But of course not! The Carys 
hadn't suffered as the poor Sherwoods had, with their 
youngest son, Curtin, killed early in the war, and now 
Gerald knocked out so tragically. Lord, he thought, 
how they must all bank on Chev! And of course they 
would want to hear at once about him. " I left Chev 
as fit as anything, and he sent all sorts of messages," 
he reported, thinking it more discreet to deliver Chev's 
messages thus vaguely than to repeat his actual care- 
free remark,, which had been, " Oh, tell 'em I'm jolly 
as a tick." 

But evidently there was something wrong with the 
words as they were, for instantly he was aware of that 
curious sense of withdrawal on their part. Hastily re- 
viewing them, he decided that they had sounded too 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA 7 

familiar from a stranger and a younger man like himself. 
He supposed he ought not to have spoken of Chev by 
his first name. Gee, what sticklers they were ! Wouldn't 
his family — dad and mother and Nancy — have fairly 
lapped up any messages from him, even if they had 
been delivered a bit awkwardly? However, he added, 
as a concession to their point of view, " But of course, 
you'll have had later news of Captain Sherwood." 

To which, after a pause, Lady Sherwood responded, 
" Oh, yes," in that remote and colourless voice which 
might have meant anything or nothing. 

At this point dinner was announced. 

Lady Sherwood drew her husband away from the 
empty fireplace, and Gerald slipped his arm through the 
Virginian's, saying pleasantly, " I'm learning to carry 
on fairly well at St. Dunstan's, but I confess I still like 
to have a pilot." 

To look at the tall young fellow beside him, whose 
scarred face was so reminiscent of Chev's untouched 
good looks, who had known all the immense freedom 
of the air, but who was now learning to carry on in the 
dark, moved Skipworth Carey to generous homage. 

" You know my saying I'm glad to meet you isn't 
just American," he said half shyly, but warmly. " It's 
plain English, and the straight truth. I've wanted to 
meet you awfully. The oldsters are always holding 
up your glorious exploits to us newcomers. Withers 
never gets tired telling about that fight of yours with 
the four enemy planes. And besides," he rushed on 
eagerly, " I'm glad to have a chance to tell ( Ihev's brother 
— Captain Sherwood's brother, I mean — what 1 think <>l 
him. Only as a matter of fact, I can't," he broke off 
with a laugh. "I can't put it exactly into word-, but 
I tell you I'd follow that man straight into hell and out 
the other side — or go there alone it' he told DM to. 
He is the finest chap that ever flew." 

And then he felt as if a cold douche had hem flung 
in his face, for after a moment's pause, the Other " 
turned, "That's awfully good of yon." in a VOIO 

distant and formal that the Virginian could have kicked 

himself. What an ass he was to be BO darned entlin 



8 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

tic with an Englishman ! He supposed it was bad form 
to show any pleasure over praise of a member of your 
family. Lord, if Chev got the V. C, he reckoned it 
would be awful to speak of it. Still, you would have 
thought Gerald might have stood for a little praise 
of him. But then, glancing sideways at his companion, 
he surprised on his face a look so strange and suffering 
that it came to him almost violently what it must be 
never to fly again ; to be on the threshold of life, with 
endless days of blackness ahead. Good God! How 
cruel he had been to flaunt Chev in his face ! In re- 
morseful and hasty reparation he stumbled on, " But 
the old fellows are always having great discussions as 
to which was the best — you or your brother. Withers 
always maintains you were. ,, 

" Withers lies, then ! " the other retorted. " I never 
touched Chev — never came within a mile of him, and 
never could have." 

They reached the dinner-table with that, and young 
Cary found himself bewildered and uncomfortable. If 
Gerald hadn't liked praise of Chev, he had liked praise 
of himself even less, it seemed. 

Dinner was not a success. The Virginian found that, 
if there was to be conversation, the burden of carrying 
it on was upon him, and gosh! they don't mind silences 
in this man's island, do they? he commented desperately 
to himself, thinking how different it was from America. 
Why, there they acted as if silence was an tgg that 
had just been laid, and everyone had to cackle at once 
to cover it up. But here the talk constantly fell to the 
ground, and nobody but himself seemed concerned to 
pick it up. His attempt to praise Chev had not been 
successful, and he could understand their not wanting to 
hear about flying and the war before Gerald. 

So at last, in desperation, he wandered off into de- 
scriptions of America, finding to his relief, that he had 
struck the right note at last. They were glad to hear 
about the States, and Lady Sherwood inquired politely 
if the Indians still gave them much trouble; and when 
he assured her that in Virginia, except for the Poca- 
hontas tribe, they were all pretty well subdued, she 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA 9 

accepted his statement with complete innocency. And 
he was so delighted to find at last a subject to which 
they were evidently cordial, that he was quite carried 
away, and wound up by inviting them all to visit his 
family in Richmond, as soon as the war was over. 

Gerald accepted at once, with enthusiasm ; Lady Sher- 
wood made polite murmurs, smiling at him in quite a 
warm and almost, indeed, maternal manner. Even Sir 
Charles, who had been staring at the food on his plate 
as if he did not quite know what to make of it, came 
to the surface long enough to mumble, " Yes, yes, very 
good idea. Countries must carry on together — What ? " 

But that was the only hit of the whole evening, and 
when the Virginian retired to his room, as he made 
an excuse to do early, he was so confused and depressed 
that he fell into an acute attack of homesickness. 

Heavens, he thought, as he tumbled into bed, just 
suppose, now, this was little old Richmond, Virginia, 
U.S.A., instead of being Bishopsthorpe, Avery Cross 
near Wick, and all the rest of it ! And at that, he 
grinned to himself. England wasn't such an all-fired 
big country that you'd think they'd have to ticket them- 
selves with addresses a yard long, for fear they'd get 
lost — now, would you? Well, anyway, suppose it v 
Richmond, and his train just pulling into the Byrd Street 
Station. lie stretched out luxuriously, and let his mind 
picture the whole familiar scene. The wind was blow- 
ing right, so there was the mellow homely smell ol 
tobacco in the streets, and plenty of people all along the 
way to hail him with outstretched hands and shouts 
of " Hey, Skip Cary, when did you get back?" "Wel- 
come home, my boy!" "Well, will you look what tin- 
cat dragged in!" And so he came to hi- own front 
door step, and, walking straight in, surprised tli whole 
family at breakfast; and yes — doggone it! if it wasn't 
Sunday, and they having waffles! And after that I 

obliging fancy bore him up Franklin Street, throu 
Monroe Park, and so to Miss Sally Berkeley's door. 
lie was sound asleep before he reached it. but in his 
dreams, lighl as a little bird, Bhe came dying down the 
broad stairway t< him, and — 



io PRIZE STORIES 1919 

But when he waked next morning, he did not find him- 
self in Virginia, but in Devonshire, where, to his un- 
bounded embarrassment, a white housemaid was putting 
up his curtains and whispering something about his bath. 
And though he pretended profound slumber, he was 
well aware that people do not turn brick-red in their 
sleep. And the problem of what was the matter with 
the Sherwood family was still before him. 

II 

" They're playing a game," he told himself after a few 
days. " That is, Lady Sherwood and Gerald are — poor 
old Sir Charles can't make much of a stab at it. The 
game is to make me think they are awfully glad to have 
me, when in reality there's something about me, or 
something I do, that gets them on the raw." 

He almost decided to make some excuse and get 
away ; but after all, that was not easy. In English novels, 
he remembered, they always had a wire calling them 
to London ; but, darn it all ! the Sherwoods knew mighty 
well there wasn't any one in London who cared a hoot 
about him. 

The thing that got his goat most, he told himself, was 
that they apparently didn't like his friendship with 
Chev. Anyway they didn't seem to want him to talk 
about him; and whenever he tried to express his warm 
appreciation for all that the older man had done for 
him, he was instantly aware of a wall of reserve on 
their part, a holding of themselves aloof from him. 
That puzzled and hurt him, and put him on his dignity. 
He concluded that they thought it was cheeky of a 
youngster like him to think that a man like Chev could 
be his friend; and if that was the way they felt, he 
reckoned he'd jolly well better shut up about it. 

But whatever it was that they didn't like about him, 
they most certainly did want him to have a good time. 
He and his pleasure appeared to be for the time being 
their chief consideration. And after the first day or so 
he began indeed to enjoy himself extremely. For one 
thing, he came to love the atmosphere of the old place 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA n 

and of the surrounding country, which he and Gerald 
explored together. He liked to think that ancestors of 
his own had been inheritors of these green lanes, and 
pleasant mellow stretches. Then, too, after the first few 
days, he could not help seeing that they really began 
to like him, which of course was reassuring, and tapped 
his own warm friendliness, which was always ready 
enough to be released. And besides, he got by accident 
what he took to be a hint as to the trouble. He was 
passing the half-open door of Lady Sherwood's morn- 
ing-room, when he heard Sir Charles's voice break out, 
" Good God, Elizabeth, I don't see how you stand it ! 
When I see him so straight and fine-looking, and so 
untouched, beside our poor lad, and think — and think — " 

Skipworth hurried out of earshot, but now he under- 
stood that look of aversion in the old man's eyes which 
had so startled him at first. Of course, the poor old 
boy might easily hate the sight of him beside Gerald. 
With Gerald himself he really got along famously. He 
was a most delightful companion, full of anecdotes and 
history of the countryside, every foot of which he had 
apparently explored in the old days with Chev and the 
younger brother, Curtin. Yet even with Gerald, Cary 
sometimes felt that aloofness and reserve, and that 
older protective air that they all showed him. Take, 
for instance, that afternoon when they were lolling to- 
gether on the grass in the park. The Virginian, running 
on in his usual eager manner, had plunged without 
thinking into an account of a particularly daring bit of 
flying on Chev's part, when suddenly he realized that 
Gerald had rolled over on the grass and buried his face 
in his arms, and interrupted himself awkwardly. "But, 
of course," he said, "he must have written home about 
it himself." 

" No, or if he did, I didn't hear of it. Go on," ( ici aid 
said in a muffled voice. 

A great rush of compassion and remorse overwhelmed 
the Virginian, and he burst out penitently, " What a 
brute i am! I'm always forgetting and running on 
about flying, when I know it must hurt like the vuy 
devil ! " 



12 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

The other drew a difficult breath. " Yes," he admitted, 
" what you say does hurt in a way — in a way you can't 
understand. But all the same I like to hear you. Go 
on about Chev." 

So Skipworth went on and finished his account, wind- 
ing up, " I don't believe there's another man in the service 
who could have pulled it off — but I tell you your brother's 
one in a million." 

" Good God, don't I know it ! " the other burst out. 
" We were all three the j oiliest pals together," he got 
out presently in a choked voice, " Chev and the young 
un and I ; and now " 

He did not finish, but Cary guessed his meaning. 
Now the young un, Curtin, was dead, and Gerald him- 
self knocked out. But, heavens ! the Virginian thought, 
did Gerald think Chev would go back on him now on 
account of his blindness? Well, you could everlastingly 
bet he wouldn't ! 

" Chev thinks the world and all of you ! " he cried 
in eager defense of his friend's loyalty. " Lots of times 
when we're all awfully jolly together, he makes some 
excuse and goes off by himself ; and Withers told me 
it was because he was so frightfully cut up about you. 
Withers said he told him once that he'd a lot rather 
have got it himself — so you can everlastingly bank on 
him ! " 

Gerald gave a terrible little gasp. " I — I knew he'd 
feel like that," he got out. " We've always cared such 
a lot for each other." And then he pressed his face 
harder than ever into the grass, and his long body quiv- 
ered all over. But not for long. In a moment he took 
fierce hold on himself, muttering, " Well, one must carry 
on, whatever happens," and apologized disjointedly. 
" What a fearful fool you must think me ! And — and 
this isn't very pippy for you, old chap." Presently, 
after that, he sat up, and said, brushing it all aside, 
" We're facing the old moat, aren't we ? There's an 
interesting bit of tradition about it that I must tell you." 

And there you were, Cary thought: no matter how 
much Gerald might be suffering from his misfortune, 
he must carry on just the same, and see that his visitor 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA 13 

had a pleasant time. It made the Virginian feel like 
an outsider and very young, as if he were not old 
enough for them to show him their real feelings. 

Another thing that he noticed was that they did not 
seem to want him to meet people. They never took 
him anywhere to call, and if visitors came to the house, 
they showed an almost panicky desire to get him out of 
the way. That again hurt his pride. What in heaven's 
name was the matter with him anyway ! 

Ill 

However, on the last afternoon of his stay at Bishops- 
thorpe, he told himself with a rather rueful grin, that 
his manners must have improved a little, for they took 
him to tea at the rectory. 

He was particularly glad to go there because, from 
certain jokes of Withers's, who had known the Sher- 
woods since boyhood, he gathered that Chev and the 
rector's daughter were engaged. And just as he would 
have liked Chev to meet Sally Berkeley, so he wanted 
to meet Miss Sybil Gaylord. 

He had little hope of having a tete-a-tete with her, 
but as it fell out he did. They were all in the rectory 
garden together, Gerald and the rector a little behind 
Miss Gaylord and himself, as they strolled down a Ion:; 
walk with high hedges bordering it. On the other side 
of the hedge Lady Sherwood and her hostess still sat 
at the tea-table, and then it was that Gary heard Mrs. 
Gaylord say distinctly, " I'm afraid the strain has been 
too much for you — you should have lei us have him." 

To which Lady Sherwood returned quickly, "(Mi, no. 
that would have been impossible with " 

" Come — come this way — 1 must show yon the view 
from the arbor," Miss Gaylord broke in brcathlc aid 

laying a hand on his arm, she turned him abruptly i: 
a side path. 

Glancing down at her, tin- Southerner could not but 

note the panic and distre S in her fair face li v. 

so obvious that the overheard words referred t<» him. 

and lie was so bewildered by the whole situation, that 



H PRIZE STORIES 1919 

he burst out impulsively, " I say, what is the matter with 
me? Why do they find me so hard to put up with? Is 
it something I do — or don't they like Americans? Hon- 
estly, I wish you'd tell me." 

She stood still at that, looking at him, her blue eyes 
full of distress and concern. 

" Oh, I am so sorry," she cried. " They would be so 
sorry to have you think anything like that." 

" But what is it ? " he persisted. " Don't they like 
Americans ? " 

" Oh, no, it isn't that — Oh, quite the contrary ! " she 
returned eagerly. 

" Then it's something about me they don't like ? " 

" Oh, no, no ! Least of all, that — don't think that ! " 
she begged. 

" But what am I to think then ? " 

" Don't think anything just yet," she pleaded. " Wait 
a little, and you will understand." 

She was so evidently distressed that he could not 
press her further ; and fearing she might think him un- 
appreciative, he said, " Well, whatever it is, it hasn't 
prevented me from having a ripping good time. They've 
seen to that, and just done everything for my pleasure." 

She looked up quickly, and to his relief he saw that 
for once he had said the right thing. 

" You have enjoyed it, then? " she questioned eagerly. 

" Most awfully," he assured her warmly. " I shall 
always remember what a happy leave they gave me." 

She gave a little sigh of satisfaction, " I am so glad," 
she said. " They wanted you to have a good time — 
that was what we all wanted." 

He looked at her gratefully, thinking how sweet she 
was in her fair English beauty, and how good to care 
that he should have enjoyed his leave. How different 
she was too from Sally Berkeley — why she would have 
made two of his little girl ! And how quiet ! Sallie 
Berkeley, with her quick glancing vivacity, would have 
been all around her and off again like a humming-bird 
before she could have uttered two words. And yet he 
was sure that they would have been friends, just as 
he and Chev were. Perhaps they all would be, after 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA 15 

the war. And then he began to talk about Chev, being 
sure that, had the circumstances been reversed, Sally 
Berkeley would have wanted news of him. Instantly 
he was aware of a tense listening stillness on her part. 
That pleased him. Well, she did care for the old fellow 
all right, he thought ; and though she made no response, 
averting her face, and plucking nervously at the leaves 
of the hedge as they passed slowly along, he went on 
pouring out his eager admiration for his friend. 

At last they came to a seat in an arbour, from which 
one looked out upon a green beneficent landscape. It 
was an intimate secluded little spot — and oh, if Sallie 
Berkeley were only there to sit beside him ! And as 
he thought of this, it came to him whimsically that in 
all probability she must be longing for Chev, just as he 
was for Sally. 

Dropping down on the bench beside her, he leaned 
over, and said with a friendly, almost brotherly, grin 
of understanding, " I reckon you're wishing Captain 
Sherwood was sitting here, instead of Lieutenant Cary." 

The minute the impulsive words were out of his 
mouth, he knew he had blundered, been awkward, and 
inexcusably intimate. She gave a little choked gasp, and 
her blue eyes stared up at him, wide and startled. 
Good heavens, what a break he had made ! No wonder 
the Sherwoods couldn't trust him in company ! There 
seemed no apology that he could offer in words, but at 
least, he thought, he would show her that he would 
not have intruded on her secret without being willing 
to share his with her. With awkward haste he put his 
hand into his breast-pocket, and dragged forth the pic- 
ture of Sally Berkeley he always carried there. 

" This is the little girl I'm thinking about," he said, 
turning very red, yet boyishly determined to make 
amends, and also proudly confident of Sally Berkeley's 
charms. " I'd like mighty well for you two to know one 
another." 

She took the picture in silence, and for a long moment 
stared down at the soft little face, s«> fearless, so confident 
and gay, that smiled appealing^ back al her. Then she 
did something astonishing, — something which seemed to 



16 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

him wholly un-English, — and yet he thought it the sweet- 
est thing he had ever seen. Cupping her strong hands 
about the picture with a quick protectiveness, she sud- 
denly raised it to her lips, and kissed it lightly. " O little 
girl ! " she cried, " I hope you will be very happy ! " 

The little involuntary act, so tender, so sisterly and 
spontaneous, touched the Virginian extremely. 

" Thanks, awfully," he said unsteadily. " She'll think 
a lot of that, just as I do — and I know she'd wish you 
the same." 

She made no reply to that, and as she handed the 
picture back to him, he saw that her hands were trem- 
bling, and he had a sudden conviction that, if she had 
been Sally Berkeley, her eyes would have been full of 
tears. As she was Sybil Gaylord, however, there were 
no tears there, only a look that he never forgot. The 
look of one much older, protective, maternal almost, 
and as if she were gazing back at Sally Berkeley and 
himself from a long way ahead on the road of life. 
He supposed it was the way most English people felt 
nowadays. He had surprised it so often on all their 
faces, that he could not help speaking of it. 

" You all think we Americans are awfully young and 
raw, don't you ? " he questioned. 

" Oh, no, not that," she deprecated. " Young perhaps 
for these days, yes — but it is more that you — that your 
country is so — so unsuffered. And we don't want you 
to suffer ! " she added quickly. 

Yes, that was it ! He understood now, and, heavens, 
how fine it was ! Old England was wounded deep — 
deep. What she suffered herself she was too proud 
to show ; but out of it she wrought a great maternal 
care for the newcomer. Yes, it was fine — he hoped his 
country would understand. 

• Miss Gaylord rose. " There are Gerald and father 
looking for you," she said, " and I must go now." She 
held out her hand. " Thank you for letting me see 
her picture, and for everything you said about Captain 
Sherwood — for everything, remember — I want you to 
remember." 

With a light pressure of her fingers she was gone, 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA 17 

slipping away through the shrubbery, and he did not 
see her again. 

IV 

So he came to his last morning at Bishopsthorpe ; and 
as he dressed, he wished it could have been different; 
that he were not still conscious of that baffling wall 
of reserve between himself and Chev's people, for whom, 
despite all, he had come to have a real affection. 

In the breakfast-room he found them all assembled, 
and his last meal there seemed to him as constrained 
and difficult as any that had preceded it. It was over 
finally, however, and in a few minutes he would be 
leaving. 

" I can never thank you enough for the splendid time 
I've had here," he said as he rose. " I'll be seeing 
Chev to-morrow, and I'll tell him all about everything." 

Then he stopped dead. With a smothered exclama- 
tion, old Sir Charles had stumbled to his feet, knocking 
over his chair, and hurried blindly out of the room; and 
Gerald said, "Mother! " in a choked appeal. 

As if it were a signal between them, Lady Sherwood 
pushed her chair back a little from the table, her long 
delicate fingers dropped together loosely in her lap; she 
gave a faint sigh as if a restraining mantle slipped from 
her shoulders, and, looking up at the youth before her, 
her fine pale face lighted with a kind of glory, she said, 
" No, dear lad, no. You can never tell Chev, for he 
is gone." 

Gone! " he cried. 

" Yes," she nodded back at him, just above a whisper; 
and now her face quivered, and the tears began to rush 
down her cheeks. 

"Not dead!" he cried. " Not Chev— not that I O 
my God, Gerald, not that!" 

"Yes," Gerald said. "They got him two days after 
you left." 

It was so overwhelming, so unexpected and shocking, 
above all so terrible, that the friend he had so greatly 
loved and admired was gone out of his life forever, 



18 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

that young Cary stumbled back into his seat, and, crum* 
pling over, buried his face in his hands, making great 
uncouth gasps as he strove to choke back his grief. 

Gerald groped hastily around the table, and flung an 
arm about his shoulders. 

" Steady on, dear fellow, steady," he said, though his 
own voice broke. 

" When did you hear ? " Cary got out at last. 

" We got the official notice just the day before you 
came — and Withers has written us particulars since." 

" And you let me come in spite of it ! And stay on, 
when every word I said about him must have — have 
fairly crucified each one of you ! Oh, forgive me ! 
forgive me ! " he cried distractedly. He saw it all now ; 
he understood at last. It was not on Gerald's account 
that they could not talk of flying and of Chev, it was 
because — because their hearts were broken over Chev 
himself. " Oh, forgive me ! " he gasped again. 

" Dear lad, there is nothing to forgive," Lady Sher- 
wood returned. " How could we help loving your gen- 
erous praise of our poor darling? We loved it, and 
you for it ; we wanted to hear it, but we were afraid. 
We were afraid we might break down, and that you 
would find out." 

The tears were still running down her cheeks. She 
did not brush them away now ; she seemed glad to have 
them there at last. 

Sinking down on his knees, he caught her hands. 
" Why did you let me do such a horrible thing ? " he 
cried. " Couldn't you have trusted me to understand ? 
Couldn't you see I loved him just as you did — No, no! ,] 
he broke down humbly. " Of course I couldn't love 
him as his own people did. But you must have seen 
how I felt about him — how I admired him, and would 
have followed him anywhere — and of course if I had 
known, I should have gone away at once." 

" Ah, but that was just what we were afraid of," she 
said quickly. " We were afraid you would go away 
and have a lonely leave somewhere. And in these days 
a boy's leave is so precious a thing that nothing must 
spoil it — nothing/' she reiterated; and her tears fell 



ENGLAND TO AMERICA Z ^ i 

upon his hands like a benediction. " But we didn't do 
it very well, I'm afraid," she went on presently, with 
gentle contrition. " You were too quick and understand- 
ing; you guessed there was something wrong. We were 
sorry not to manage better," she apologized. 

" Oh, you wonderful, wonderful people ! " he gasped. 
" Doing everything for my happiness, when all the time 
— all the time " 

His voice went out sharply, as his mind flashed back 
to scene after scene : to Gerald's long body lying quiver- 
ing on the grass ; to Sybil Gaylord wishing Sallie Berke- 
ley happiness out of her own tragedy ; and to the high 
look on Lady Sherwood's face. They seemed to him 
themselves, and yet more than themselves — shining bits 
in the mosaic of a great nation. Disjointedly there 
passed through his mind familiar words — " these are 
they who have washed their garments — having come 
out of great tribulation." No wonder they seemed 
older. 

" We — we couldn't have done it in America," he said 
humbly. 

He had a desperate desire to get away to himself ; to 
hide his face in his arms, and give vent to the tears that 
were stifling him ; to weep for his lost friend, and for 
this great heartbreaking heroism of theirs. 

"But why did you do it?" he persisted. "Was it 
because I was his friend?" 

" Oh, it was much more than that," Gerald said quickly. 
" It was a matter of the two countries. Of course, we 
jolly well knew you didn't belong to us, and didn't 
want to, but for the life of us we couldn't help a sort 
of feeling that you did. And when America was in at 
last, and you fellows began to come, you seemed like 
our very own come back after many years, and.'' he 
added, a throb in his voire, " we were most awfully glad 

to sec you — we wanted a chance to show \on how Eng- 
land frit." 

SkipWOrth Cary rose t<> his feet. The (rars for his 
friend were still wet upon his lashes. Stooping, he took 

Lady Sherwood's hands in Ins and raised them to his 
lips. "As long as I live, I shall never forget," he said 



20 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" And others of us have seen it too in other ways — be 
sure America will never forget, either." 

She looked up at his untouched youth out of her 
beautiful sad eyes, the exalted light still shining through 
her tears. " Yes," she said, " you see it was — I don't 
know exactly how to put it — but it was England to 
America." 



" FOR THEY KNOW NOT 
WHAT THEY DO " 

By WILBUR DANIEL STEELE 

From Pictorial Review 

WHEN Christopher Kain told me his story, sitting 
late in his dressing-room at the Philharmonic, I 
felt that I ought to say something, but nothing in the 
world seemed adequate. It was one of those times when 
words have no weight : mine sounded like a fly buzzing 
in the tomb of kings. And after all, he did not hear me ; 
I could tell that by the look on his face as he sat there 
staring into the light, the lank, dark hair framing his 
waxen brow, his shoulders hanging forward, his lean, 
strong, sentient fingers wrapped around the brown neck 
of " Ugo," the 'cello, tightly. 

Agnes Kain was a lady, as a lady was before the light 
of that poor worn word went out. Quiet, reserved, 
gracious, continent, bearing in face and form the fragile 
beauty of a rose-petal come to its fading on a windless 
ledge, she moved down the years with the stedfast sweet- 
ness of the gentlewoman — gentle, and a woman. 

They knew little about her in the city, where she had 
come with her son. They did not need to. Looking into 
her eyes, into the transparent soul behind them, they 
could ask no other credential for the name she bore and 
the lavender she wore for the husband of whom she 
never spoke. 

She spoke of him, indeed, but that was in privacy, and 
to her son. As Christopher grew through boyhood, she 
watched him; in her enveloping eagerness Bhe fofl 

21 



22 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

stalled the hour when he would have asked, and told him 
about his father, Daniel Kain. 

It gave them the added bond of secret-sharers. The 
tale grew as the boy grew. Each night when Christopher 
crept into his mother's bed for the quiet hour of her 
voice, it was as if he crept in to another world, the wind- 
blown, sky-encompassed kingdom of the Kains, Daniel, 
his father, and Maynard, his father, another Maynard 
before him, and all the Kains — and the Hill and the 
House, the Willow Wood, the Moor Under the Cloud, 
the Beach where the gray seas pounded, the boundless 
Marsh, the Lilac-hedge standing against the stars. 

He knew he would have to be a man of men to measure 
up to that heritage, a man strong, grave, thoughtful, kind 
with the kindness that never falters, brave with the 
courage of that dark and massive folk whose blood ran 
in his veins. Coming as it did, a world of legend grow- 
ing up side by side with the matter-of-fact world of 
Concord Street, it was made to fit in with all things 
natural, and it never occurred to him to question. He, 
the boy, was not massive, strong, or brave; he saw things 
in the dark that frightened him, his thin shoulders were 
bound to droop, the hours of practise on his violin left 
him with no blood in his legs and a queer pallor on his 
brow. 

Nor was he always grave, thoughtful, kind. He did 
not often lose his temper, the river of his young life ran 
too smooth and deep. But there were times when he did. 
Brief passions swept him, blinded him, twisted his fin- 
gers, left him sobbing, retching, and weak as death itself. 
He never seemed to wonder at the discrepancy in things, 
however, any more than he wondered at the look in his 
mother's eyes, as she hung over him, waiting, in those 
moments of nausea after rage. She had not the look of 
the gentlewoman then ; she had more the look, a thou- 
sand times, of the prisoner led through the last gray 
corridor in the dawn. 

He saw her like that once when he had not been angry. 
It was on a day when he came into the front hall un- 
expectedly as a stranger was going out of the door. The 
stranger was dressed in rough, brown homespun; in one 



" FOR THEY-KNOW^OTAVHAT-THEY DO " 23 

hand he held a brown velour hat, in the other a thorn 
stick without a ferrule. Nor was there anything more 
worthy of note in his face, an average-long face with 
hollowed cheeks, sunken gray eyes, and a high forehead, 
narrow, sallow, and moist. 

No, it was not the stranger that troubled Christopher. 
It was his mother's look at his own blundering entrance, 
and, when the man was out of hearing, the tremulous 
haste of her explanation. 

" He came about some papers, you know." 

" You mean our Morning Post?" Christopher asked 
her. 

She let her breath out all at once and colour flooded 
her face. 

" Yes," she told him. " Yes, yes." 

Neither of them said anything more about it. 

It was that same day, toward evening, that Christopher 
broke one of his long silences, reverting to a subject 
always near to them both. 

" Mother, you've never told me where it is — on the 
map, I mean." 

She was looking the other way. She did not turn 
around. 

" I — Chris — I — I haven't a map in the house." 

He did not press the matter. He went out into the 
back yard presently, under the grape-trellis, and there 
he stood still for a long time, staring at nothing in par- 
ticular. 

He was growing up. 

He went away to boarding-school not long after this, 
taking with him the picture of his adored mother, tin- 
treasured epic of his dark, strong fathers, his narrow 
shoulders, his rare, blind bursts of passion, his new- 
born wonder, and his violin. At school they thought 
him a queer one. 

The destinies of men are unaccountable things. Five 
children in the village of Deer Bay came down with 
diphtheria. That was why the academy shut Up tor a 
week, and that was what started Christopher on ln^ 
way home for an unexpected holiday. Vnd then it wis 
only by one chance in a thousand that he should glimpse 



24 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

his mother's face in the down-train halted at the Junc- 
tion where he himself was changing. 

She did not see him till he came striding along the 
aisle of her coach, his arms full of his things, face 
flushed, eyes brimming with the surprise and pleasure 
of seeing her ; lips trembling questions. 

" Why, Mother, what on earth ? Where are you 
going? I'm to have a week at least, Mother; and here 
you're going away, and you didn't tell me, and what 
is it, and everything?" 

His eager voice trailed off. The colour drained out 
of his face and there was a shadow in his eyes. He 
drew back from her the least way. 

"What is it, Mother? Mother!" 

Somewhere on the platform outside the conductor's 
droning " — board" ran along the coaches. Agnes Kain 
opened her white lips. 

" Get off before it's too late, Christopher. I haven't 
time to explain now. Go home, and Mary will see you 
have everything. I'll be back in a day or so. Kiss me, 
and go quickly. Quickly ! " 

He did not kiss her. He would not have kissed her 
for worlds. He was too bewildered, dazed, lost, too 
inexpressibly hurt. On the platform outside, had she 
turned ever so little to look, she might have seen his 
face again for an instant as the wheels ground on the 
rails. Colour was coming back to it again, a murky 
colour like the shadow of a red cloud. 

They must have wondered, in the coach with her, at 
the change in the calm, unobtrusive, well-gowned gentle- 
woman, their fellow-passenger. Those that were left 
after another two hours saw her get down at a barren 
station where an old man waited in a carriage. The 
halt was brief, and none of them caught sight of the 
boyish figure that slipped down from the rearmost coach 
to take shelter for himself and his dark, tempest-ridden 
face behind the shed at the end of the platform — 

Christopher walked out across a broad, high, cloudy 
plain, following a red road, led by the dust-feather 
hanging over the distant carriage. 

He walked for miles, creeping ant-like between the 



" FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO " 25 



immensities of the brown plain and the tumbled sky. 
Had he been less implacable, less intent, he might have 
noticed many things, the changing conformation of the 
clouds, the far flight of a gull, the new perfume and 
texture of the wind that flowed over his hot temples. 
But as it was, the sea took him by surprise. Coming 
over a little rise, his eyes focused for another long, 
dun fold of the plain, it seemed for an instant as if 
he had lost his balance over a void; for a wink he 
felt the passing of a strange sickness. He went off a 
little way to the side of the road and sat down on a 
flat stone. 

The world had become of a sudden infinitely simple, 
as simple as the inside of a cup. The land broke down 
under him, a long, naked slope fringed at the foot of 
a ribbon of woods. Through the upper branches he 
saw the shingles and chimneys of a pale grey village 
clinging to a white beach, a beach which ran up to the 
left in a bolder flight of cliffs, showing on their crest 
a cluster of roofs and dull-green gable-ends against the 
sea that lifted vast, unbroken, to the rim of the cup. 

Christopher was fifteen, and queer even for that queer 
age. He had a streak of the girl in him at his adolescence, 
and, as he sat there in a huddle, the wind coming out 
of this huge new gulf of life seemed to pass through 
him, bone and tissue, and tears rolled down his face. 

The carriage bearing his strange mother was gone, 
from sight and from mind. His eyes came down from 
the lilac-crowned hill to the beach, where it showed in 
white patches through the wood, and he saw that the 
wood was of willows. And he remembered the plain 
behind him, the wide, brown moor under the cloud. 
He got up on his wobbly legs. There were stones all 
about him in the whispering wire-grass, and like them 
the one he had been sitting on bore a blurred inscrip- 
tion. He read it aloud, for some reason, his voice 
borne away faintly on the river of air: 

Here Lie The Earthly Remains Of 

MAYNARD KAIN, SECONM ) 

Born 1835 — Died 1863 Eor the Preservation of the Uniwn 



26 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

His gaze went on to another of those worn stones. 

MAYNARD KAIN, ESQUIRE 
1 81 9 — 1849 

This Monument Erected In His Memory By His Sorrowing 
Widow, Harriet Burnam Kain 

The windy Gales of the West Indias 
Laid Claim to His Noble Soul 
And Took him on High to his Creator 
Who made him Whole. 

There was no moss or lichen on this wind-scoured 
slope. In the falling dusk the old white stones stood 
up like the bones of the dead themselves, and the only 
sound was the rustle of the wire-grass creeping over 
them in a dry tide. The boy had taken off his cap; 
the sea-wind moving under the mat of his damp hair 
gave it the look of some somber, outlandish cowl. With 
the night coming on, his solemnity had an elfin quality. 
He found what he was looking for at last, and his fingers 
had to help his eyes. 

DANIEL KAIN 

Beloved Husband of Agnes Willoughby Kain 
Born i860— Died 1886 

Forgive them, for they know not what they do. 

Christopher Kain told me that he left the naked 
graveyard repeating it to himself, " Forgive them, for 
they know not what they do," conscious less of the 
words than of the august rhythm falling in with the 
pulse of his exaltation. 

The velvet darkness that hangs under cloud had come 
down over the hill and the great marsh stretching away 
to the south of it. Agnes Kain stood in the open door- 
way, one hand on the brown wood, the other pressed 
to her cheek. 

" You heard it that time, Nelson ? " 

" No, ma'am." The old man in the entrance-hall be 



" FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO " 27 

hind her shook his head. In the thin, blown light of 
the candelabra which he held high, the worry and doubt 
of her deepened on his singularly-unlined face. 

" And you might well catch your death in that draft, 
ma'am." 

But she only continued to stare out between the pillars 
where the lilac-hedge made a wall of deeper blackness 
across the night. 

" What am I thinking of?" she whispered, and then: 
"There!" 

And this time the old man heard it, a nearer, wind- 
blown hail. 

" Mother! Oh, Mother!" 

The boy came striding through the gap of the gate 
in the hedge. 

"It's I, Mother! Chris! Aren't you surprised?" 

She had no answer. As he came she turned and moved 
away from the door, and the old man, peering from 
under the flat candle-flames, saw her face like wax. 
And he saw the boy, Christopher, in the doorway, his 
hands flung out, his face transfigured. 

"Mother! I'm here! Don't you understand?" 

He touched her shoulder. She turned to him, as it 
were, lazily. 

" Yes," she breathed. " I see." 

He threw his arms about her, and felt her shaking 
from head to foot. Rut he was shaking, too. 

"I knew the way!" he cried. " I knew it, Mother, 
I knew it! I came down from the Moor and then' 
was the Willow Wood, and 1 knew the way home. And 
when I came, Mother, it was like the trees bowing down 
their branches in the dark. And when 1 came by the 
Beach, Mother, it was like a roll oi drums beating for 
me, and when I came to the Hill I saw the Hedge stand- 
ing against the sky, and I came, and here I am!" 

She expressed no wonder, asked no question. 

" Yes," was all she said, and it was as if she spoke 
of a tree coming to its leaf, the wind to its height, the 

tide to its flood. 

Had he been less rapt and triumphant he must have 
wondered more at that icy lassitude, and at the cloak of 



28 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

ceremony she wrapped about her to hide a terror. It 
was queer to hear the chill urbanity of her : " This is 
Christopher, Nelson ; Christopher, this is your father's 
servant, Nelson. " It was queerer still to see the fas- 
tidious decorum with which she led him over this, the 
familiar house of his fathers. 

He might have been a stranger, come with a guide- 
book in his hand. When he stood on his heels in the 
big drawing-room, staring up with all his eyes at the 
likenesses of those men he had known so well, it was 
strange to hear her going on with all the patter of the 
gallery attendant, names of painters, prices, dates. He 
stood before the portrait of Daniel Kain, his father, a 
dark-skinned, longish face with a slightly-protruding 
nether lip, hollow temples, and a round chin, deeply 
cleft. As in all the others, the eyes, even in the dead 
pigment, seemed to shine with an odd, fixed luminosity 
of their own, and like the others from first to last of 
the line, it bore upon it the stamp of an imperishable 
youth. And all the while he stood there, drinking it 
in, detail by detail, his mother spoke, not of the face, 
but of the frame, some obscure and unsuspected ex- 
cellence in the gold-leaf on the frame. 

More than once in that stately tour of halls and cham- 
bers he found himself protesting gaily, " I know, Mother ! 
I know, I know ! " 

But the contagion of his glory did not seem to touch 
her. Nothing seemed to touch her. Only once was the 
fragile, bright shell of her punctilio penetrated for a 
moment, and that was when Christopher, lagging, turned 
back to a door they were about to pass and threw it 
open with the happy laugh of a discoverer. And then, 
even before she could have hushed him, the laughter 
on his lips died of itself. 

A man lay on a bed in the room, his face as colourless 
and still as the pillow behind it. His eyes were open, 
but they did not move from the three candles burning 
on the high bureau, and he seemed unconscious of any 
intrusion. 

" I didn't know ! " Christopher whispered, shocked, and 
shamed. 



" FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO " 29 

When the door was closed again his mother explained. 
She explained at length, concisely, standing quite still, 
with one frail, fine hand worrying the locket she wore 
at her throat. Nelson stood quite still too, his attention 
engrossed in his candle-wicks. And Christopher stood 
quite still, and all their shadows — That man was the 
caretaker, the man, Christopher was to understand, who 
had been looking after the place. His name was San- 
derson. He had fallen ill, very ill. In fact, he was 
dying. And that was why his mother had had to come 
down, post-haste, without warning. To see about some 
papers. Some papers. Christopher was to under- 
stand 

Christopher understood. Indeed there was not much 
to understand. And yet, when they had gone on, he 
was bothered by it. Already, so young he was, so ruth- 
less, and so romantic, he had begun to be a little ashamed 
of that fading, matter-of-fact world of Concord Street. 
And it was with just that world which he wished to 
forget, that the man lying ill in the candle-lit chamber 
was linked in Christopher's memory. For it was the 
same man he had seen in the doorway that morning 
months ago, with a brown hat in one hand and a thorn 
stick in the other. 

Even a thing like that may be half put aside, though 
— for a while. And by the time Christopher went to 
his room for the night the thought of the interloper had 
retired into the back of his mind, and they were all 
Kains there on the Hill, inheritors of romance. He found 
himself bowing to his mother with a courtliness he had 
never known, and an " I wish you a good night," sounding 
a century old on his lips. He saw the remote, patrician 
figure bow as gravely in return, a petal of colour as 
hard as paint on the whiteness of either cluck. He 
did not see her afterward, though, when the merciful 
door was closed. 

Before he slept he explored the chamber, touching old 
objects with reverent finger-tips. lie came on a leather 
case like an absurdly overgrown beetle, hidden in a 
corner, and a violoncello was in it. \\r had seen such 
things before, but he had never touched one, and when 



30 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

he lifted it from the case he had a moment of feeling 
very odd at the pit of his stomach. Sitting in his under- 
things on the edge of the bed, he held the wine-coloured 
creature in the crook of his arm for a long time, the 
look in his round eyes, half eagerness, half pain, of one 
pursuing the shadow of some ghostly and elusive mem- 
ory. 

He touched the C-string by and by with an adven- 
turing thumb. I have heard " Ugo " sing, myself, and 
I know what Christopher meant when he said that the 
sound did not come out of the instrument, but that it 
came in to it, sweeping home from all the walls and 
corners of the chamber, a slow, rich, concentric wind of 
tone. He felt it about him, murmurous, pulsating, like 
the sound of surf borne from some far-off" coast. 

And then it was like drums, still farther off. And 
then it was the feet of marching men, massive, dark, 
grave men with luminous eyes, and the stamp on their 
faces of an imperishable youth. 

He sat there so lost and rapt that he heard nothing 
of his mother's footsteps hurrying in the hall ; knew 
nothing till he saw her face in the open doorway. She 
had forgotten herself this time ; that fragile defense of 
gentility was down. For a moment they stared at each 
other across a gulf of silence, and little by little the 
boy's cheeks grew as white as hers, his hands as cold, 
his lungs as empty of breath. 

"What is it, Mother?" 

" Oh, Christopher, Christopher Go to bed, dear." 

He did not know why, but of a sudden he felt ashamed 
and a little frightened, and, blowing out the candle, he 
crept under the covers. 

The afternoon was bright with a rare sun and the 
world was quiet. Christopher lay full-spread on the 
turf, listening idly to the " clip-clip " of Nelson's shears 
as the old man trimmed the hedge. 

" And was my father very strong ? " he asked with 
a drowsy pride. 

" No, not so very." Nelson stopped clipping and was 
immediately lost in the past. 

" Only when he was that way five strong men couldn't 



" FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO " 31 

turn him. I'll say that. No, if they had to get him with 
a shotgun that day, 'twas nobody's fault nor sin. If 
Guy Bullard seen Daniel there on the sand with an ax 
in his hand and foam-like on his lips, and the little ones 
cornered where he caught them between cliff and water 
— Guy's own baby amongst them — and knowing the sick- 
ness of the Kains as he and everybody else did — why, 
I'm free and willing to say 'twas his bounden duty 
to hold a true aim and pull a steady trigger on Daniel, 
man of his though I was, and man of his poor father 
before him 

" No, I can't make it right to lay blame on any man 
for it, no more than I can on them, his brother officers, 
that broke Maynard's neck with their tent-pegs the night 
after Gettysburg. No, no " 

It was evidently a time-worn theme, an argument, an 
apologia, accepted after years of bitterness and self- 
searching. He went on with the remote serenity of age, 
that has escaped the toils of passion, pursuing the old, 
worn path of his mind, his eyes buried in vacancy. 

" No, 'twas a mercy to the both of them, father and 
son, and a man must see it so. 'Twould be better of 
course if they could have gone easier, same as the old 
Maynard went, thinking himself the Lord our God to 
walk on the water and calm the West Indy gale. That's 
better, better for all hands round. But if it had to 
come so, in violence and fear, then nobody need feel 
the sin of it on his soul — nobody excepting the old man 
Bickers, him that told Daniel. For 'twas from that day 
he began to take it on. 

" I saw it myself. There was Daniel come home from 
other parts where his mother had kept him, out of 
gossip's way, bright as you please and knowing nothing 
wrong with the blood of the Kains. And so I say 
the sin lays on the loose-wagging tongue of Bickers, for 
from the day he let it out to Daniel, Daniel changed. 
'Twas like he'd heard his doom, and went to it. Bickers 
is dead a long time now, but may the Lord God lay 
eternal damnation on his soul ! " 

Even then there was no heat; the curse had grown 
a formula. Having come to the end, the old man's 



32 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

eyes tumbled down painlessly out of the void and dis- 
covered the shears in his hand. 

" Dear me, that's so," he said to himself. One thought 
was enough at a time. He fell to work again. The 
steady " clip-clip-clip " moved off slowly along the hedge. 
Not once did he remember ; not once as the indefatigable 
worker shuffled himself out of sight around the house 
did he look back with any stirring of recollection at the 
boyish figure lying there as still as a shadow cast in the 
deep grass. 

A faintly lop-sided moon swam in the zenith. For 
three days now that rare clarity had hung in the sky, 
and for three nights the moon had grown. Its benign, 
poisonous illumination flowed down steeply through the 
windows of the dark chamber where Christopher huddled 
on the bed's edge, three pale, chill islands spread on the 
polished floor. 

Once again the boy brought the bow home across the 
shivering strings, and, as if ears could be thirsty as a 
drunkard's throat, he drank his fill of the 'cello's deep, 
full-membered chord. The air was heavy with the res- 
onance of marching feet, ghostly feet marching and 
marching down upon him in slow, inexorable crescendo 
as the tides ebbed later among the sedges on the marsh 
and the moon grew big. And above the pulse of the 
march he seemed to hear another cadence, a thin laughter. 

He laughed too, giving himself up to that spectral 
contagion. He saw the fat, iridescent bubble with the 
Hill in it, the House of dreams, the Beach and the Moor 
and Willow Wood of fancy, and all the grave, strong, 
gentle line of Kains to whom he had been made bow 
down in worship. He saw himself taken in, soul and 
body, by a thin-plated fraud, a cheap trick of mother's 
words, as before him, his father had been. And the 
faint exhalations from the moon-patches on the floor 
showed his face contorted with a still, set grimace of 
mirth. 

Anger came over him in a white veil, twitching his 
lips and his toes and bending his fingers in knots. 
Through the veil a sound crept, a sound he knew well 



"FOR THEY KNOW not WHATTHEY DO" 

by this time, secret footfalls in the hall, falterifl 
treating, loitering, returning to las near the 

How he hated her! It is curious that not did 

his passion turn against his blighted fathers; it v. 

ainst the woman who had home him, the babe, and 

lied to him, the boy— : ainst that man, 

that interloper, dying in a room b 

The thought that had been willing t<i i out of 

ht into the back-country of his mind on that fi] 

night came out now like a red. devouring cloud. Who 
that man ? 

What was he crying of — or supposed to be dying i 
What had he been doing that morning in < 
What was In- doing here, in the 1 t" the men who 

had never grown old and of the boy who would ne\ 
-w old? Why had his mother COme down here, where 

o queerly, cretlv, so frightened ? 

Christopher would have liked to kill that man. He 
Shivered and licked his lips. Me would have liked to 
do something bloody and abominable to th ith 

the hollow cheeks, the sunken 

head, high, sallow, and nioi-t. lb- would have lil 

in hi- hand and run along the thundering 
ch and catch that face in a corner ion* 

in cliff and water. The thing ]>• 

- I him and blinded him like the k ; 

1 le found himself on the floor at I the 

moonlight, full i and nat 

.'.led back t<> the 1 A\<\ 

ck bath- d in a flood of painleSS tear-, lb' threw him- 

1 1 1 down, dazed w ith exhau rt ion. 

It seemed t<> him that his mothei 
Ion- while. " ( hri topher I \\ hat is it it, 

I b- had heard no f< 

have b- en there- all the time, v 

(] tO the th:. f the 'I he 

thought w.i lil e •••• • ■ . 'he torment o! hei 

in In 

" < >h. (I Chris I 

" Y< .'* ! ! I h hit- d on an elbou and 



34 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

it in a voice which must have sounded strange enough 
to the listener beyond the door. "Yes!" he said. 
"Yes!" 

"Go away!" he cried of a sudden, making a wide, 
dim, imperious gesture in the dark. 

"No, no," the imploring whisper crept in. "You're 
making yourself sick — Christopher — all over nothing — 
nothing in the world. It's so foolish — so foolish — fool- 
ish! Oh, if I could only tell you, Christopher — if I 
could tell you " 

"Tell me what?" He shuddered with the ecstasy 
of his own irony. "Who that man is? That 'care- 
taker'? What he's doing here? What you're doing 

here? " He began to scream in a high, brittle voice: 

"Go away from that door! Go away! " 

This time she obeyed. He heard her retreating, 
soft-footed and frightened, along the hall. She was 
abandoning him — without so much as trying the door, 
just once again, to see if it were still bolted against 
her. 

She did not care. She was sneaking off — down the 
stairs — Oh, yes, he knew where. 

His lips began to twitch again and his finger nails 
scratched on the bedclothes. If only he had something, 
some weapon, an axe, a broad, keen, glittering axe! 
He would show them! He was strong, incredibly strong! 
Five men could not have turned him back from what 
he was going to do — if only he had something. 

His hand, creeping, groping, closed on the neck of 
the 'cello leaning by the bed. He laughed. 

Oh, yes, he would stop her from going down there; 
he would hold her, just where she was on the dark 
stair, nerveless, breathless, as long as he liked, if he 
liked he would bring her back, cringing, begging. 

He drew the bow, and laughed higher and louder 
yet to hear the booming discord rocking in upon him 
from the shadows. Swaying from side to side, he lashed 
the hollow creature to madness. They came in the 
press of the gale, marching, marching, the wild, dark 
pageant of his fathers, nearer and nearer through the 
moon-struck night. 



" FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO " 35 

" Tell me what? " he laughed. " What? " 
And abruptly he slept, sprawled crosswise on the 
covers, half-clothed, dishevelled, triumphant. 

It was not the same night, but another; whether the 
next or the next but one, or two, Christopher can not 
say. But he was out of doors. 

He had escaped from the house at dusk; he knew 
that. 

He had run away, through the hedge and down the 
back side of the hill, torn between the two, the death, 
warm and red like life, and the birth, pale, chill, and 
inexorable as death. 

Most of that daft night-running will always be blank 
in Christopher's mind ; moments and moments, like islands 
of clarity, remain. He brings back one vivid interval 
when he found himself seated on his father's gravestone 
among the whispering grasses, staring down into the 
pallid bowl of the world. And in that moment he knew 
what Daniel Kain had felt, and Maynard Kain before 
him ; a passionate and contemptuous hatred for all the 
dullards in the world who never dreamed dreams or 
saw visions or sang wordless songs or ran naked-hearted 
in the flood of the full-blown moon. He hated them 
because they could not by any possibility comprehend 
his magnificent separation, his starry sanity, his kinship 
with the gods. And he had a new thirst to obliterate 
the whole creeping race of dust-dwellers with one wide, 
incomparably bloody gesture. 

It was late when he found himself back again before 
the house, and an ink-black cloud touched the moon's 
edge. After the airless evening a wind had sprung up 
in the east ; it thrashed among the lilac-stems as he came 
through them and across the turf, silent-footed as an 
Indian. In his right hand he had a bread-knife, held 
butt to thumb, dagger-wise. Where he had come by 
the rust-bitten thing no one knows, least of all himself. 
In the broken light his eyes shone with a curious 
luminosity of their own, absorbed, introspective. 

All the windows were dark, and the entrance-hall, 
when he slipped in between the pillars, but across its 



36 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

floor he saw light thrown in a yellow ribbon from the 
half-closed door of the drawing-room. 

It took his attention, laid hands on his imagination. 
He began to struggle against it. 

He would not go into that room. He was going to 
another room. To stay him, he made a picture of the 
other room in his tumbled mind — the high, bleak walls, 
the bureau with the three candles burning wanly, the bed, 
the face of the man on the bed. And when his rebellious 
feet, surrendering him up to the lure of that beckoning 
ribbon, had edged as far as the door, and he had pushed 
it a little further ajar to get his head in, he saw that 
the face itself was there in the drawing-room. 

He stood there for some time, his shoulder pressed 
against the door-jamb, his eyes blinking. 

His slow attention moved from the face to the satin 
pillows that wedged it in, and then to the woman that 
must have been his mother, kneeling beside the casket 
with her arms crooked on the shining cover and her 
head down between them. And across from her leaned 
" Ugo," the 'cello, come down from his chamber to stand 
vigil at the other shoulder of the dead. 

The first thing that came into his groping mind was 
a bitter sense of abandonment. The little core of candle- 
light hanging in the gloom left him out. Its unstirring 
occupants, the woman, the 'cello, and the clay, seemed 
sufficient to themselves. His mother had forgotten him. 
Even " Ugo," that had grown part and parcel of his 
madness, had forgotten him. 

Bruised, sullen, moved by some deep-lying instinct 
of the clan, his eyes left them and sought the wall be- 
yond, where there were those who would not forget 
him, come what might, blood of his blood and mind of 
his own queer mind. And there among the shadowed 
faces he searched for one in vain. As if that candle-lit 
tableau, somehow holy and somehow abominable, were 
not for the eyes of one of them, the face of Daniel, 
the wedded husband, had been turned to the wall. 

Here was something definite, something Christopher 
could take hold of, and something that he would not 
have. 



" FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO " 37 

His mother seemed not to have known he was near 
till he flung the door back and came stalking into the 
light with the rusty bread-knife in his hand. One would 
not have imagined there were blood enough left in her 
wasted heart, but her face went crimson when she lifted 
it and saw him. 

It brought him up short — the blush, where he had 
looked for fright. It shocked him, and, shocking him, 
more than by a thousand laboured words of explanation, 
it opened a window in his disordered brain. He stood 
gawking with the effort of thought, hardly conscious of 
his mother's cry : 

" Christopher, I never meant you to know ! " 

He kept on staring at the ashen face between the 
pillows, long (as his own was long), sensitive, worn; 
and at the 'cello keeping incorruptible vigil over its 
dead. And then slowly his eyes went down to his own 
left hand, to which that same old wine-brown creature 
had come home from the first with a curious sense of 
fitness and authority and right. 

" Who is this man ? " 

" Don't look at me so ! Don't, Chris ! " 

But he did look at her. Preoccupied as he was, he 
was appalled at sight of the damage the half-dozen of 
days had done. She had been so much the lady, so 
perfectly the gentlewoman. To no one had the outward 
gesture and symbol of purity been more precious. No 
whisper had ever breathed against her. If there had 
been secrets behind her, they had been dead; if a 
skeleton, the closet had been closed. And now, looking 
down on her, he was not only appalled, he was a 
little sickened, as one might be to find squalor and 
decay creeping into a familiar and once immaculate 
room. 

"Who is this man?" he repeated. 

" He grew up with me." She half raised herself 
on her knees in the eagerness of her appeal. ' We 
were boy and girl together at home in Maryland. We 
were meant for each other, Chris. We were always to 
marry — always, Chis. And when I went away, and 
when I married your — when I married Daniel Kain, he 



38 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

hunted and he searched and he found me here. He 
was with me, he stood by me through that awful year — 
and — that was how it happened. I tell you, Christopher, 
darling, we were meant for each other, John Sanderson 
and I. He loved me more than poor Daniel ever did 
or could, loved me enough to throw away a life of 
promise, just to hang on here after every one else was 
gone, alone with his 'cello and his one little memory. 
And I loved him enough to — to — Christopher, don't look 
at me so I " 

His eyes did not waver. You must remember his 
age, the immaculate, ruthless, mid-Victorian 'teens ; and 
you must remember his bringing-up. 

" And so this was my father," he said. And then 
he went on without waiting, his voice breaking into 
falsetto with the fierceness of his charge. " And you 
would have kept on lying to me! If I hadn't happened, 
just happened, to find you here, now, you would have gone 
on keeping me in the dark ! You would have stood by 
and seen me — well — go crazy! Yes, go crazy, thinking 
I was — well, thinking I was meant for it ! And all to 
save your precious " 

She was down on the floor again, what was left of 
the gentlewoman, wailing. 

" But you don't know what it means to a woman, 
Chris ! You don't know what it means to a woman ! " 

A wave of rebellion brought her up and she strained 
toward him across the coffin. 

" Isn't it something, then, that I gave you a father 
with a mind? And if you think you've been sinned 
against, think of me! Sin! You call it sin! Well, isn't 
it anything at all that by my ' sin ' my son's blood came 
down to him clean? Tell me that! " 

He shook himself, and his flame turned to sullenness. 

" It's not so," he glowered. 

All the girl in him, the poet, the hero-worshipping 
boy, rebelled. His harassed eyes went to the wall be- 
yond and the faces there, the ghosts of the doomed, 
glorious, youth-ridden line, priceless possessions of his 
dreams. He would not lose them : he refused to be 
robbed of a tragic birthright. He wanted some gesture 



"FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO " 39 

puissant enough to turn back and blot out all that had 
been told him. 

" It's not his ! " he cried. And reaching out fiercely 
he dragged the 'cello away from the coffin's side. He 
stood for an instant at bay, bitter, defiant. 

"It's not his! It's mine! It's— it's— oursf" 

And then he fled out into the dark of the entrance- 
hall and up the black stairs. In his room there was 
no moonlight now, for the cloud ran over the sky and 
the rain had come. 

" It isn't so, it isn't so ! " It was like a sob in his 
throat. 

He struck on the full strings. And listening breath- 
less through the dying discord he heard the liquid whis- 
pers of the rain, nothing more. He lashed with a wild 
bow, time and again. But something was broken, some- 
thing was lost: out of the surf of sound he could no 
longer fashion the measure of marching feet. The mad 
Kains had found him out, and cast him out. No longer 
could he dream them in dreams or run naked-hearted 
with them in the flood of the moon, for he was no 
blood of theirs, and they were gone. And huddling down 
on the edge of the bed, he wept. 

The tears washed his eyes and falling down bathed 
his strengthless hands. And beyond the phantom win- 
dows, over the marsh and the moor and the hill that 
were not his, the graves of strangers and the lost Willow 
Wood, lay the healing rain. He heard it in gurgling 
rivulets along the gutters overhead. He heard the soft 
impact, like a kiss, brushing the reedy cheeks of the 
marsh, the showery shouldering of branches, the aspira- 
tion of myriad drinking grasses, the far whisper of 
waters coming home to the waters of the sea — the 
long, low melody of the rain. 

And by and by he found it was " Ugo," the 'cello, and 
he was playing. 

They went home the following afternoon, he and his 
mother. Or rather, she went home, and he with her 
as far as the Junction, where he changed for school. 

They had not much to say to each other through the 
journey. The boy had to be given time. Five years 



40 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

younger, or fifteen years older, it would have been easier 
for him to look at his mother. You must remember 
what his mother had meant to him, and what, bound 
up still in the fierce and sombre battle of adolescence, 
she must mean to him now. 

As for Agnes Kain, she did not look at him, either. 
Through the changing hours her eyes rested on the 
transparent hands lying crossed in her lap. She seemed 
very tired and very white. Her hair was not done as 
tidily, her lace cuffs were less fresh than they had 
used to be. About her whole presence there was a 
troubling hint of let-down, something obscurely slovenly, 
a kind of awkward and unlovely nakedness. 

She really spoke to him for the first time at the 
Junction, when he stood before her, slim and uncouth 
under the huge burden of " Ugo," fumbling through his 
leave-taking. 

" Christopher," she said, " try not to think of me — 
always — as — as — well, when you're older, Christopher, 
you'll know what I mean." 

That was the last time he ever heard her speak. He 
saw her once again, but the telegram was delayed and 
his train was late, and when he came beside her bed 
she said nothing. She looked into his eyes searchingly, 
for a long while, and died. 

That space stands for the interval of silence that fell 
after Christopher had told me the story. I thought he 
had quite finished. He sat motionless, his shoulders 
fallen forward, his eyes fixed in the heart of the in- 
candescent globe over the dressing-table, his long fingers 
wrapped around the neck of the 'cello. 

" And so she got me through those years," he said. 
" Those nip-and-tuck years that followed. By her lie. 

" Insanity is a queer thing," he went on, still brooding 
into the light. " There's more of it about than we're 
apt to think. It works in so many ways. In hobbies, 
arts, philosophies. Music is a kind of insanity. I know. 
I've got mine penned up in the music now, and I think 
I can keep it there now, and save my soul." 

"Yours?" 



" FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO " 41 

" Yes, mine. I know now — now that it's safe for 
me to know. I was down at that village by the beach 
a year or so ago. I'm a Kain, of course, one of the 
crazy Kains, after all. John Sanderson was born in the 
village and lived there till his death. Only once that 
folks could remember had he been away, and that was 
when he took some papers to the city for Mrs. Kain 
to sign. He was caretaker at the old ' Kain place ' the 
last ten years of his life, and deaf, they said, since his 
tenth year — ' deaf as a post.' And they told me some- 
thing else. They said there was a story that before 
my father, Daniel, married her, my mother had been an 
actress. An actress ! You'll understand that I needed 
no one to tell me that ! 

" They told me that they had heard a story that she 
was a great actress. Dear God, if they could only know ! 
When I think of that night and that setting, that scene ! 
It killed her, and it got me over the wall " 




THEY GRIND EXCEEDING 
SMALL 

By BEN AMES WILLIAMS 
From Saturday Evening Post 

I TELEPHONED down the hill to Hazen Kinch. 
" Hazen," I asked, " are you going to town to-day? " 

" Yes, yes," he said abruptly in his quick, harsh fashion. 
" Of course I'm going to town." 

" I've a matter of business," I suggested. 

" Come along," he invited brusquely. " Come along." 

There was not another man within forty miles to 
whom he would have given that invitation. 

" I'll be down in ten minutes," I promised him ; and 
I went to pull on my Pontiacs and heavy half boots 
over them and started downhill through the sandy snow. 
It was bitterly cold ; it had been a cold winter. The 
bay — I could see it from my window — was frozen over 
for a dozen miles east and west and thirty north and 
south ; and that had not happened in close to a score 
of years. 'Men were freighting across to the islands with 
heavy teams. Automobiles had beaten a rough road 
along the course the steamers took in summer. A man 
who had ventured to stock one of the lower islands 
with foxes for the sake of their fur, counting on the 
water to hold them prisoners, had gone bankrupt when 
his stock in trade escaped across the ice. Bitterly cold 
and steadily cold, and deep snow lay upon the hills, 
blue-white in the distance. The evergreens were blue- 
black blotches on this whiteness. The birches, almost 
indistinguishable, were like trees in camouflage. To 
me the hills are never so grand as in this winter coat 
they wear. It is easy to believe that a brooding God 
dwells upon them. I wondered as I ploughed my way 
down to Hazen Kinch's farm whether God did indeed 

42 



THEY GRIND EXCEEDING SMALL 43 

dwell among these hills; and I wondered what He 
thought of Hazen Kinch. 

This was no new matter of thought with me. I had 
given some thought to Hazen in the past. I was inter- 
ested in the man and in that which should come to him. 
He was, it seemed to me, a problem in fundamental 
ethics ; he was, as matters stood, a demonstration of the 
essential uprightness of things as they are. The biologist 
would have called him a sport, a deviation from type, 
a violation of all the proper laws of life^ That such a 
man should live and grow great and prosper was not 
fitting; in a well-regulated world it could not be. Yet 
Hazen Kinch did live; he had grown — in his small way 
— great; and by our lights he had prospered. There- 
fore I watched him. There was about the man the fas- 
cination which clothes a tight-rope walker above Niagara ; 
an aeronaut in the midst of the nose dive. The spec- 
tator stares with half-caught breath, afraid to see and 
afraid to miss seeing the ultimate catastrophe. Some- 
times I wondered whether Hazen Kinch suspected this 
attitude on my part. It was not impossible. There was 
a cynical courage in the man ; it might have amused him. 
Certainly I "was the only man who had in any degree 
his confidence. 

I have said there was not another within forty miles 
whom he would have given a lift to town; I doubt if 
there was another man anywhere for whom he would 
have done this small favour. 

He seemed to find a mocking sort of pleasure in my 
company. 

When I came to his house he was in the barn harness- 
ing his mare to the sleigh. The mare was a good animal, 
fast and strong. She feared and she hated Hazen. I 
could see her roll her eyes backward at him as he ad- 
justed the traces. He called to me without turning: 

"Shut the door! Shut the door! Damn the cold!" 

I slid the door shut behind me. There was within 
the barn the curious chill warmth which housed animals 
generate to protect themselves against our winters. 

" It will snow," I told Hazen. " I was not sure you 
would go." 



44 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

He^laughed crookedly, jerking at the trace. 

" Snow4" he exclaimed. " A man would think you 
were personal manager of the weather. Why do you 
say it will snow ? " 

" The drift of the clouds — and it's warmer," I told 
him. 

" I'll not have it snowing," he said, and looked at me 
and cackled. He was a little, thin, old man with meager 
whiskers and a curious precision of speech; and I think 
he got some enjoyment out of watching my expression 
at such remarks as this. He elaborated his assumption 
that the universe was conducted for his benefit, in order 
to see my silent revolt at the suggestion. " I'll not have 
it snowing," he said. " Open the door." 

He led the mare out and stopped by the kitchen door. 

" Come in," he said. " A hot drink." 

I went with him into the kitchen. His wife was there, 
and their child. The woman was lean and frail; and 
she was afraid of him. The countryside said he had 
taken her in payment of a bad debt. Her father had 
owed him money which he could not pay. 

" I decided it was time I had a wife," Hazen used to 
say to me. 

The child was on the floor. The woman had a drink 
of milk and egg and rum, hot and ready for us. We 
drank, and Hazen knelt beside the child. A boy baby, 
not yet two years old. It is an ugly thing to say, but 
I hated this child. There was evil malevolence in his 
baby eyes. I have sometimes thought the grey devils 
must have left just such hate-bred babes as this in 
France. Also^ he was deformed — a twisted leg. The 
women of the neighbourhood sometimes said he would be 
better dead. But Hazen Kinch loved him. He lifted 
him in his arms now with a curious passion in his 
movement, and the child stared at him sullenly. When 
the mother came near the baby squalled at her, and 
Hazen said roughly: 

" Stand away ! Leave him alone ! " 

She moved back furtively ; and Hazen asked me, dis- 
playing the child : " A fine boy, eh ? " 

I said nothing, and in his cracked old voice he mum- 



THEY GRIND EXCEEDING SMALL 45 

bled endearments to the baby. I had often wondered 
whether his love for the child redeemed the man ; or 
merely made him vulnerable. Certainly any harm that 
might come to the baby would be a crushing blow to 
Hazen. 

He put the child down on the floor again and he said 
to the woman curtly: " Tend him well." She nodded. 
There was a dumb submission in her eyes ; but through 
this blank veil I had seen now and then a blaze- 
pain. 

Hazen w r ent out of the door without further word to 
her, and I followed him. We got into the sleigh, bun- 
dling ourselves into the robes for the six-mile drive along 
the drifted road to town. There was a feeling of storm 
in the air. I looked at the sky and so did Hazen Kineh. 
He guessed what I would have said and he answered me 
before I could speak. 

" I'll not have it snowing," he said, and leered at 
me. 

Nevertheless, I knew the storm would com<\ The 
mare turned out of the barnyard and ploughed through 
a drift and struck hard-paeked road. Her hoofs beat 
a swift tattoo; our runners sang beneath US. We 
dropped to the little bridge and ftCTOSS and began the 
mile-long climb to the top of Rayborn Hill. The mad 
from Ha/.en's house to town is compounded of SUCH 
UDS and downs. 

' At the top of the hill we pan < 1 for a moment tO 
breathe- the mare ; paused JU81 in front of the b 

Rayborn house, that has stood their for more yean 

than most of US remember. It was closed and shuttei 
and deserted; and Hazen dipped his whip toward it and 
said meanly : 

" An ugry, improvident lot, the Rayborns ' 

I had known only one of them the eld \ 

fine man. I had thought him. I 
orchard, he I'll one October and bloke his neck. His 

widow tried to mai 1 ol the place, but she I 

of Hazen and he had this three montl 

back. It was one of the 1 I vils he had dOOC I 

looked at the h m>l at him, and he cln- 



46 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

mare and we dipped down into the steep valley below 
the hilb 

The wind had a sweep in that valley and there was a 
drift of snow across it and across the road. This drift 
was well packed by the wind, but when we drove over 
its top our left-hand runner broke through the coaming 
and we tumbled into the snow, Hazen and I. We were 
well entangled in the rugs. The mare gave a frightened 
start, but Hazen had held the reins and the whip so 
that she could not break away. We got up together, 
he and I, and we righted the sleigh and set it upon 
the road again. I remember that it was becoming bitter 
cold and the sun was no longer shining. There was a 
steel-grey veil drawn across the bay. 

When the sleigh was upright Hazen went forward 
and stood beside the mare. Some men, blaming the 
beast without reason, would have beaten her. They 
would have cursed, cried out upon her. That was not 
the cut of Hazen Kinch. But I could see that he was 
angry and I was not surprised when he reached up and 
gripped the horse's ear. He pulled the mare's head 
down and twisted the ear viciously. All in a silence that 
was deadly. 

The mare snorted and tried to rear back and Hazen 
clapped the butt of his whip across her knees. She 
stood still, quivering, and he wrenched at her ear 
again. 

" Now," he said softly, " keep the road." 

And he returned and climbed to his place beside me 
in the sleigh. I said nothing. I might have interfered, 
but something had always impelled me to keep back 
my hand from Hazen Kinch. 

We drove on and the mare was lame. Though Hazen 
pushed her, we were slow in coming to town and be- 
fore we reached Hazen's office the snow was whirling 
down — a pressure of driving, swirling flakes like a heavy 
white hand. 

I left Hazen at the stair that led to his office and I 
went about my business of the day. He said as I turned 
away: 

" Be here at three." 



THEY GRIND EXCEEDING SMALL 47 

I nodded. But I did not think we should drive home 
that afternoon. I had some knowledge of storms. 

That which had brought me to town was not en- 
grossing. I found time to go to the stable and see 
Hazen's mare. There was an ugly welt across her 
knees and some blood had flowed. The stablemen had 
tended the welt, and cursed Hazen in my hearing. It 
was still snowing, and the stable boss, looking out at 
the driving flakes, spat upon the ground and said to me : 

" Them legs'll go stiff. That mare won't go home 
to-night." 

" I think you are right," I agreed. 

" The white-whiskered skunk ! " he said, and I knew 
he spoke of Hazen. 

At a quarter of three I took myself to Hazen Kinch's 
office. It was not much of an office; not that Hazen 
could not have afforded a better. But it was up two 
flights — an attic room ill lighted. A small air-tight 
stove kept the room stifling hot. The room was also 
air-tight. Hazen had a table and two chairs, and an 
iron safe in the corner. He put a pathetic trust in that 
safe. I believe I could have opened it with a screw- 
driver. I met him as I climbed the stairs. He said 
harshly : 

" I'm going to telephone. They say the road's im- 
passable." 

He had no telephone in his office; he used one in the 
store below. A small economy fairly typical of Hazen. 

"I'll wait in the office," 1 told him. ' 

"Go ahead," he agreed, halfway down the stairs. 

I went up to his office and closed the drafts of the 
stove — it was red-hot — and tried to open the one win- 
dow, but it was nailed fast. Then I la/en came hack 
up the stairs grumbling. 

"Damn the snow!" he said. "The wire is down." 

"Where to?" I asked. 

" My house, man ! To my hotl! e I " 

" You wanted to telephone home that you " 

" I can't gCl home to nil-lit. You'll have tO gO to the 
hotel." 

I nodded j d naturedl y. 



48 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" All right. You, too, I suppose." 

" I'll sleep here," he said. 

I looked round. There was no bed, no cot, nothing 
but the two stiff chairs. He saw my glance and said 
angrily : " I've slept on the floor before." 

I was always interested in the man's mental processes. 

" You wanted to telephone Mrs. Kinch not to worry ? " 
I suggested. 

" Pshaw, let her fret ! " said Hazen. " I wanted to 
ask after my boy." His eyes expanded, he rubbed his 
hands a little, cackling. " A fine boy, sir ! A fine boy ! " 

It was then we heard Doan Marshey coming up the 
stairs. We heard his stumbling steps as he began the 
last flight and Hazen seemed to cock his ears as he lis- 
tened. Then he sat still and watched the door. The 
steps climbed nearer; they stopped in the dim little 
hall outside the door and someone fumbled with the 
knob. When the door opened we saw who it was. I 
knew Marshey. He lived a little beyond Hazen on the 
same road. Lived in a two-room cabin — it was little 
more — with his wife and his five children; lived meanly 
and pitiably, grovelling in the soil for daily bread, sweat- 
ing life out of the earth — life and no more. A thin 
man, racking thin ; a forward-thrusting neck and a bony 
face and a sad and drooping moustache about his mouth. 
His eyes were meek and weary. 

He stood in the doorway blinking at us ; and with his 
gloved hands — they were stiff and awkward with the 
cold — he unwound the ragged muffler that was about 
his neck and he brushed weakly at the snow upon his 
head and his shoulders. Hazen said angrily: 

" Come in ! Do you want my stove to heat the town ? " 

Doan shuffled in and he shut the door behind him. 
He said : " Howdy, Mr. Kinch." And he smiled in a 
humble and placating way. 

Hazen said : " What's your business ? Your interest 
is due." 

Doan nodded. 

" Yeah. I know, Mr. Kinch. I cain't pay it all." 

Kinch exclaimed impatiently : " An old story ! How 
much can you pay ? " 

i 



THEY GRIND EXCEEDING SMALL 49 

" Eleven dollars and fifty cents," said Doan. 

" You owe twenty/' 

" I aim to pay it when the hens begin to lay." 

Hazen laughed scornfully. 

" You aim to pay ! Damn you, Marshey, if your old 
farm was worth taking I'd have you out in this snow, 
you old scamp ! " 

Doan pleaded dully : " Don't you do that, Mr. Kinch ! 
I aim to pay." 

Hazen clapped his hands on the table. 

" Rats ! Come ! Give me what you've got ! And, 
Marshey, you'll have to get the rest. I'm sick of waiting 
on you." 

Marshey came shuffling toward the table. Hazen was 
sitting with the table between him and the man and I 
was a little behind Hazen at one side. Marshey blinked 
as he came nearer, and his weak nearsighted eyes turned 
from Hazen to me. I could see that the man was stiff 
with the cold. 

When he came to the table in front of Hazen he took 
off his thick gloves. His hands were blue. He laid the 
gloves on the table and reached into an inner pocket of 
his torn coat and drew out a little cloth pouch and he 
fumbled into this and I heard the clink of coins. He 
drew out two quarters and laid them on the table before 
Hazen, and Hazen picked them up. I saw that Marshey's 
fingers moved stiffly ; I could almost hear them creak 
with the cold. Then he reached into the pouch again. 

Something dropped out of the mouth of the little cloth 
bag and fell soundlessly on the table. It looked tc me 
like a bill, a piece of paper currency. I was abou to 
speak, but Hazen, without an instant's hesitation, had 
dropped his hand on the thing and drawn it unostenta- 
tiously toward him. When he lifted his hand the money 
— if it was money — was gone. 

Marshey drew out a little roll of worn bills. Hazen 
took them out of his hand and counted them swiftly. 

"All right," he said. "Eleven-fifty. I'll give you a 
receipt. But you mind me, Doan Marshey, you get the 
rest before the month's out. I've been too slack with 
you." 



50 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Marshey, his dull eyes watching Hazen write the 
receipt, was folding the little pouch and putting it away. 
Hazen tore off the bit of paper and gave it to him. 
Doan took it and he said humbly: " Thank'e, sir." 

Hazen nodded. 

" Mind now," he exclaimed, and Marshey said : " I'll 
do my best, Mr. Kinch." 

Then he turned and shuffled across the room and out 
into the hall and we heard him descending the stairs. 

When he was gone I asked Hazen casually : " What 
was it that he dropped upon the table ? " 

" A dollar," said Hazen promptly. " A dollar bill. 
The miserable fool ! " 

Hazen's mental processes were always of interest to me. 

" You mean to give it back to him ? " I asked. 

He stared at me and he laughed. " No! If he can't 
take care of his own money — that's why he is what 
he is." 

" Still it is his money." 

" He owes me more than that." 

" Going to give him credit for it? " 

" Am I a fool ? " Hazen asked me. " Do I look like so 
much of a fool ? " 

" He may charge you with finding it." 

" He loses a dollar ; I find one. Can he prove owner- 
ship ? Pshaw ! " Hazen laughed again. 

" If there is any spine in him he will lay the thing 
to you as a theft," I suggested. I was not afraid of 
angering Hazen. He allowed me open speech ; he seemed 
to y .nd a grim pleasure in my distaste for him and for 
his way of life. 

" If there were any backbone in the man he would 
not be paying me eighty dollars a year on a five-hundred- 
dollar loan — discounted." 

Hazen grinned at me triumphantly. 

" I wonder if he will come back," I said. 

" Besides," Hazen continued, " he lied to me. He told 
me the eleven-fifty was all he had." 

" Yes," I agreed. " There is no doubt he lied to you." 

Hazen had a letter to write and he bent to it. I sat 
by the stove and watched him and considered. He had 



y 

THEY GRIND EXCEEDING SMALL 51 

not yet finished the letter when we heard Marshey re- 
turning. His dragging feet on the stair were unmis- 
takable. At the sound of his weary feet some tide 
of indignation surged up in me. 

I was minded to do violence to Hazen Kinch. But — 
a deeper impulse held my hand from the man. 

Marshey came in and his weary eyes wandered about 
the room. They inspected the floor ; they inspected me ; 
they inspected Hazen Kinch's table, and they rose at 
last humbly to Hazen Kinch. 

"Well?" said Hazen. 

" I lost a dollar," Marshey told him. " I 'lowed I might 
have dropped it here." 

Hazen frowned. 

" You told me eleven-fifty was all you had." 

" This here dollar wa'n't mine." 

The money-lender laughed. 

"Likely! Who would give you a dollar? You lied 
to me, or you're lying now. I don't believe you lost a 
dollar." 

Marshey reiterated weakly: " I lost a dollar." 

" Well," said Hazen, " there's no dollar of yours here." 

" It was to git medicine," Marshey said. " It wa'n't 
mine." 

Hazen Kinch exclaimed: " Hy God, I believe you're 
accusing me ! " 

Marshey lifted both hands placatingly. 

"No, Mr. Kinch. No, sir." His eyes (nice more 

wandered about the room. " Mebbe 1 dropped it in the 
snow/ 1 he said. 

He turned to the door. Kvm in h?9 slOW shuffle there 
was a hint of trembling eagerness fo escape. He went 
OUt and down the stairs. Hazen looked at me. his old 

face wrinkling mirthfully. 

" You lie said. 

I left him a little later and went OUt into ihe Street 

On the way to the hotel I Btopped for .1 cigar at t 
drug stork Marshey was there, talking with the drug- 
gist. 

1 heard the dn; aj ! " No, .Mardiev, I'm >«>rry. 

I've been stun;: tOO oftem 



52 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Marshey nodded humbly. 

" I didn't 'low you'd figure to trust me," he agreed. 
"It's all right. I didn't 'low you would." 

It was my impulse to give him the dollar he needed, 
but I did not do it. An overpowering compulsion bade 
me keep my hands off in this matter. I did not know 
what I expected, but I felt the imminence of the fates. 
When I went out into the snow it seemed to me the 
groan of the gale was like the slow grind of millstones, 
one upon the other. 

I thought long upon the matter of Hazen Kinch before 
sleep came that night. 

Toward morning the snow must have stopped; and 
the wind increased and carved the drifts till sunrise, 
then abruptly died. I met Hazen at the postoffice at 
ten and he said : " I'm starting home." 

I asked: "Can you get through?" 

He laughed. 

" I will get through," he told me. 

"You're in haste." 

" I want to see that boy of mine," said Hazen Kinch. 
" A fine boy, man ! A fine boy ! " 

" I'm ready," I said. 

When we took the road the mare was limping. But 
she seemed to work out the stiffness in her knees and 
after a mile or so of the hard going she was moving 
smoothly enough. We made good time. 

The day, as often happens after a storm, was full of 
blinding sunlight. The glare of the sun upon the snow 
was almost unbearable. I kept my eyes all but closed, 
but there was so much beauty abroad in the land that 
I could not bear to close them altogether. The snow 
clung to twigs and to fences and to wires, and a thousand 
flames glinted from every crystal when the sun struck 
down upon the drifts. The pine wood upon the eastern 
slope of Rayborn Hill was a checkerboard of rich colour. 
Green and blue and black and white, indescribably bril- 
liant. When we crossed the bridge at the foot of the 
hill we could hear the brook playing beneath the ice 
that sheathed it. On the white pages of the snow wild 
things had writ here and there the fine-traced tale 



THEY GRIND EXCEEDING SMALL 53 

of their morning's adventuring. We saw once where a 
fox had pinned a big snowshoe rabbit in a drift. 
)/ Hazen talked much of that child of his on the home- 
ward way. I said little. From the top of the Rayborn 
Hill we sighted his house and he laid the whip along 
the mare and we went down that last long descent at 
a speed that left me breathless. I shut my eyes and 
huddled low in the robes for protection against the bitter 
wind, and I did not open them again till we turned into 
Hazen's barnyard, ploughing through the unpacked snow. 

When we stopped Hazen laughed. 

"Ha!" he said. "Now, come in, man, and warm 
yourself and see the baby ! A fine boy ! " 

He was ahead of me at the door; I went in upon his 
heels. We came into the kitchen together. 

Hazen's kitchen was also living-room and bedroom 
in the cold of winter. The arrangement saved firewood. 
There was a bed against the wall opposite the door. As 
we came in a woman got up stiffly from this bed and I 
saw that this woman was Hazen's wife. But there was 
a change in her. She was bleak as cold iron and she 
was somehow strong. 

Hazen rasped at this woman impatiently : " Well, I'm 
home ! Where is the boy ? " 

She looked at him and her lips moved soundlessly. 
She closed them, opened them again. This time she was 
ablp to sopik 

" The boy? " she said to Hazen. " The boy is dead ! " 

The dim-lit kitchen was very quiet for a little time. 
I felt myself breathe deeply, almost with relief. The 
thing for which I had waited — it had come. And I 
looked at Hazen Kinch. 

He had always been a little thin man. He was 
shrunken now and very white and very still. Only his 
face twitched. A muscle in one cheek jerked and 
jerked and jerked at his mouth. It was as though he 
controlled a desire to smile. That jerking, suppressed 
smile upon his white and tortured countenance was 
terrible. I could see the blood drain down from his 
forehead, down from his cheeks. He became white 
as death itself. 



54 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

After a little he tried to speak. I do not know what 
he meant to say. But what he did was to repeat — as 
though ho had not heard her words — the question which 
he had flung at her in the beginning. He said huskily : 
"Where is the boy?" 

She looked toward the bed and Hazen looked that 
way; and then he went across to the bed with uncertain 
little steps. I followed him. I saw the little twisted 
body there. The woman had been keeping it warm with 
her own body. It must have been in her arms when we 
came in. The tumbled coverings, the crushed pillows 
spoke mutely of a ferocious intensity of grief. 

Hazen looked down at the little body. He made no 
move to touch it, but I heard him whisper to himself : 
" Fine boy." 

After a while he looked at the woman. She seemed 
to feel an accusation in his eyes. She said : " I did all 
I could." 

He asked "What was it?" 

I had it in me — though I had reason enough to despise 
the little man — to pity Hazen Kinch. 

" He coughed," said the woman. " I knew it was 
croup. You know I asked you to get the medicine — 
ipecac. You said no matter — no need — and you had 
gone." 

She looked out of the window. 

" I went for help — to Annie Marshey. Her babies 
had had it. Her husband was gonig to town and she 
said he would get the medicine for me. She did not 
tell him it was for me. He would not have done it 
for you. He did not know. So I gave her a dollar 
to give hin> — to bring it out to me. 

" He came home in the snow last night. Baby was 
bad by that time, so I was watching for Doan. I stopped 
him in the road and I asked for the medicine. When 
he understood he told me. He had not brought it." 

The woman was speaking dully, without emotion. 

" It would have been in time, even then," she said. 
" But after £ while, after that, baby died." 

I understood in that moment the working of the mills. 
And when I looked at Hazen Kinch I saw that he, too, 



THEY GRIND EXCEEDING SMALL 55 

was beginning to understand. There is a just merciless- 
ness in an aroused God. Hazen Kinch was driven to 
questions. 

"Why— didn't Marshey fetch it?" he asked. 

She said slowly : " They would not trust him — at the 
store." 

His mouth twitched, he raised his hands. 

"The money!" he cried. "The money! What did 
he do with that?" 

" He said," the woman answered, " that he lost it — 
in your office ; lost the money there." 

After a little the old money-lender leaned far back 
like a man wrenched with agony. His body was con- 
torted, his face was terrible. His dry mouth opened 
wide. 

He screamed ! 

Halfway up the hill to my house I stopped to look 
back and all round. The vast hills in their snowy gar- 
ments looked down upon the land, upon the house of 
Hazen Kinch. Still and silent and inscrutable. 

I knew now that a just and brooding God dwelt among 
these hills. 



ON STRIKE 

By ALBERT PAYSON TERHUNE 

From The Popular Magazine 

FURTHERMORE, howadji," ventured Najib, who 
had not spoken for fully half an hour, but had 
been poring over a sheaf of shipment items scribbled 
in Arabic, " furthermore, I am yearnful to know who 
was the unhappy person the wicked general threatened. 
Or, of a perhaps, it was that poor general himself who 
was bethreatened by his padishah or by the " 

"What on earth are you babbling about, Najib?" 
absent-mindedly asked Logan Kirby, as he looked up 
from a month-old New York paper which had arrived 
by muleteer that day and which the expatriated Ameri- 
can had been reading with pathetic interest. 

Now, roused from his perusal by Najib's query, Logan 
saw that the little Syrian had ceased wrestling with the 
shipment items and was peering over his employer's 
shoulder, his beady eyes fixed in keen curiosity on the 
printed page. 

" I enseeched you to tell me, howadji," said Najib, 
" who has been threatening that poor general. Or, per- 
chancely, who has been made to cower himself under- 
theneath of that fierce general's threatenings. See, it 
is there, howadji. There, in the black line at the left 
top end of the news. See?" 

Following the guidance of Najib's stubby, unwashed 
finger, Kirby read the indicated headline: 

GENERAL STRIKE THREATENED 

" Oh ! " he answered, choking back a grin. " I see. 
There isn't any * general,' Najib. And he isn't threat- 
ened. It means " 

56 



ON STRIKE 57 

" May the faces of all liars be blackened ! " cried 
Najib in virtuous indignation. " And may the maker 
of the becurst newspage lie be doubly afflictioned ! May 
his camels die and his wives cast dust upon his bared 
head ! For he has befooled me, by what he has here 
enprinted. My heart went out with a sweet sorrowful- 
ness for that poor general or for the folk he bethreat- 
ened. Whichever it might chance itself to be. And 
now the news person has made a jest of the truth. But 
he— " 

Kirby's attempt at self-control went to pieces. He 
guffawed. Najib eyed him sourly; then said in icy re- 
proof : 

" It is known to all, howadji, that Sidi-ben-Hassan, the 
sheikh, was the wisest of men. And did not Sidi-ben- 
Hassan make known, in his book, that ' Laughter is for 
women and for hyenas ' ? Furthermore " 

" I'm sorry I laughed at you, Najib," returned Kirby, 
with due penitence, " I don't wonder you got such an 
idea, from the headline. You see, I have read the story 
that goes under it. That's how I happen to know what 
it means. It means that several thousand workmen 
of several allied trades threatened to go on strike. That 
will tie up a lot of business, you see ; along a lot of lines. 
It will mean a general tie-up — a " 

From Najib's blank face, the American saw his more 
or less technical explanation was going wide. Still re- 
morseful at having hurt his factotum's feelings, Kirby 
laid the paper aside and undertook to simplify the matter. 

" It's like this," said he. " We'll say a gang of men 
aren't satisfied with the pay or the hours they are get- 
ting. They asked for more money or for shorter hours ; 
or for both. If the demand is refused, they stop work- 
ing. They won't go back to their jobs till they get 
the cash and the hours they want. That is known as 
* going on strike.' When a number of concerns are in- 
volved in it, it's sometimes called 'a general strike.' 
This paper says a general strike is threatened. That 
means " 

"I apperceive it, howadji!" exclaimed Najib. "I 
am onward to it, now. I might have known the printed 



58 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

page cannot lie. But, oh, my heart berends itself when 
I think of the sad fate of those poor folk who do the 
stroking! Of an assuredly, Allah hath deprived them 
of wisdom ! " 

" Not necessarily," argued Kirby, wondering at his 
henchman's outburst of sympathy for union labourers so 
many thousand miles away. " They may win, you know ; 
or, at least, get a compromise. And their unions will 
support them while they are out of work. Of course, 
they may lose. And then " 

" But when they make refusal to do their work," 
urged Najib, " will not the soldiers of the pasha cut them 
to ribbons with the kourbash and drive them back to 
their toil? Or if the pasha of that pashalik is a brute- 
some man, will not he cast those poor fellaheen into the 
prison and beseize their goods? And I answer, howadji, 
he will. Wherefore my eyes are tearing, for the men 
who have so unlucklessly " 

" Hold on ! " exhorted Kirby ; albeit despairing of open- 
ing the mind of a man whose forebears for thousands 
of years had lived in a land where the corvee — forced 
labour — was a hallowed institution ; and where the money 
of employers could always enlist the aid of government 
soldiery to keep the fellaheen at their tasks. " Hold 
on ! That sort of thing is dead and done with. Even 
in the East. Chinese Gordon stamped out the last of 
it, in Egypt, years ago. If a man doesn't want to work, 
he can't be forced to. All his boss can do is to fire him 
and try to get some one in his place. When a whole 
factory of men strike — especially if there are any big 
contract orders to fill in a rush — the employers some- 
times find it cheaper to give them what they want than 
to call in untrained strikebreakers. On the other hand, 
sometimes, the boss can bring the men to terms. It all 
depends." 

Yielding to the human joy of imparting instruction to 
so interested a listener, Kirby launched forth into an elab- 
oration of his theme ; trying to expound something of 
the capital-and-labour situation to his follower; and 
secretly wondering at the keen zest wherewith his words 
were listened to. 



ON STRIKE 59 

Seldom was Kirby so successful in making Najib fol- 
low so long an oration. And he was pleased with his 
own new-found powers of explaining Occidental cus- 
toms to an Oriental mind. 

Now, Logan Kirby knew the tangled Syrian character 
and its myriad queer slants, as well as it can be given 
to a white man to know it. Kirby's father had been a 
missionary, at Nablous. He himself had been born there, 
and had spent his boyhood at the mission. That was 
why — after he had completed his engineering course at 
Columbia's school of mines and had served an appren- 
ticeship in Colorado and Arizona — the Cabell Smelting 
Company of New York had sent him out to the Land 
of Moab, as manager of its new-acquired little antimony 
mine. 

The mine — a mere prospect shaft — was worked by 
about thirty fellaheen — native labourers — supervised by 
a native guard of twelve Turkish soldiers. Small as was 
the plant, it was a rich property and it was piling up 
dividends for the Cabells. Antimony, in the East, is 
used in a score of ways — from its employment in the 
form of kohl, for the darkening of women's eyes, to 
the chemical by-products, always in demand by Syrian 
apothecaries. 

This was the only antimony mine between Aden and 
Germany. Its shipments were in constant demand. Its 
revenues were a big item on the credit side of the Cabell 
ledger. 

Kirby's personal factotum, as well as superintendent of 
the mine, was this squat little Syrian, Najib, who had 
once spent two blissfully useless years with an All 
Nations Show, at Coney Island; and who there had 
picked up a language which he proudly believed t<> be 
English; and which he spoke exclusively when talking 
with the manager. 

Kirby's rare knowledge of the East bad enabled 'lie 
mine to escape ruin a SCOre of limes when- a mana' 
less conversant with Oriental ways must have blun- 
dered into some fatal error in the handling of his nun 
or in dealing with the local authorities. 

Remember, please, that in the KaM it ifl the seemingly 



60 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

insignificant things which bring disaster to the feringhee, 
or foreigner. For example, many an American or Euro- 
pean has met unavenged death because he did not realize 
that he was heaping vile affront upon his Bedouin host 
by eating with his left hand. Many a foreign manager 
of labour has lost instant and complete control over his 
fellaheen by deigning to wash his own shirt in the 
near-by river or for brushing the dirt from his own 
clothes. Thereby be has proved himself a labourer, in- 
stead of a master of men. Many a foreigner has been 
shot or stabbed for speaking to a native whom he thought 
afflicted with a fit and who was really engaged in prayer. 
Many more have lost life or authority by laughing at 
the wrong time or by glancing — with entire absence of 
interest, perhaps — at some passing woman. 

Yes, Kirby had been invaluable to his employers by 
virtue of his inborn knowledge of Syrian ways. Yet, 
now, he was not enough of an Oriental to understand 
why his lecture on the strike system should thrill his 
listener. 

He did not pause to realize that the idea of strikes 
was one which carries a true appeal to the Eastern imagi- 
nation. It has all the elements of revenge, of coercion, 
of trapping, of wily give-and-take, and of simple and 
logical gambling uncertainty ; which characterize the 
most popular of the Arabian Nights yarns and which 
have made those tales remain as Syrian classics for more 
than ten centuries. 

" It is of an assuredly a pleasing and noble plan," 
applauded Najib when Kirby finished the divers ramifi- 
cations of his discourse. " And I do not misdoubt but 
what that cruel general betrembled himself inside of his 
boots when they threatened to strike. If the stroking 
ones may not be lawfully attackled by the pashalik troops, 
indeed must the general " 

" I told you there wasn't any general ! " interrupted 
Kirby, jarred that his luminous explanations had still 
left Najib more or less where it found him, so far as 
any lucid idea was concerned. " And I've wasted enough 
time trying to ding the notion of the thing into your 
thick head. If you've got those shipment items cata- 



ON STRIKE 61 

logued, go back to the shaft and check off the inventory. 
The first load ought to be on the way to the coast be- 
fore sunrise to-morrow. Chase ! " 

As he picked up the duplicate sets of the list and ran 
over their items once more, Kirby tried to forget his own 
silly annoyance at his failure to make the dull little Syrian 
comprehend a custom that had never reached the Land 
of Moab. 

Presently, in his absorption in his work, the American 
forgot the whole incident. It was the beginning of a 
rush period at the mine — the busiest month in its history 
was just setting in. The Alexandretta-bound shipment 
of the morrow was but the first of twelve big shipments 
scheduled for the next twenty-nine days. 

The restoration of peace and the shutting out of several 
Central European rivals had thrown an unprecedented 
sheaf of rush orders on the Cabell mine. It was such 
a chance as Kirby had longed for ; a chance to show his 
rivals' customers the quality of the Cabell product and 
the speed and efficiency wherewith orders could and 
would be filled by him. If he could but fill these new 
customers' orders in quicker and more satisfactory 
fashion than the firms were accustomed to receiving, it 
might well mean that the new buyers would stick to the 
Cabells, after the other mines should again be in opera- 
tion. 

It was a big chance, as Kirby had explained at some 
length to Najib, during the past few weeks. At his 
behest, the little superintendent had used every known 
method to get extra work and extra speed out of the 
fellaheen ; and, by judicious baksheesh, had even im- 
pressed to the toil several members of the haughty, Turk- 
ish guard and certain folk from the nearest hill village. 

As a result, the first shipment was ready for the mule- 
teers to carry coastward a full week ahead of schedule 
time. And the contract chanced to be one for which 
the eager wholesalers at Alexandretta had agreed to pay 
a bonus for early arrival. The men were even now busy 
getting a second shipment in shape for transportation 
by mule train to Tiberias and thence by railway to Da- 
mascus. 



62 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

The work was progressing finely. Kirby thrilled at 
the thought. And he was just a little ashamed of his 
own recent impatience at Najib, when he remembered 
how the superintendent was pushing the relays of con- 
signments along. After all, he mused, it was no reflec- 
tion on Na jib's intelligence that the poor little chap could 
not grasp the whole involved Occidental strike system 
in one hasty lecture ; and that his simple mind clung to 
the delusion that there was some fierce general involved 
in it. In the Arabian Nights was there not always a 
scheming sultan or a baffled wazir, in every clash with 
the folk of the land? Was it unnatural that Najib should 
have substituted for these the mythical general of whom 
he thought he had seen mention in the news headline? 

But, soon after dusk, Kirby had reason to know that 
his words had not all fallen on barren soil. At close 
of the working day, Najib had brought the manager the 
usual diurnal report from the mine. Now, after supper, 
Kirby, glancing over the report again, found a gap or 
two in the details. This was no novelty, the Syrian 
mind not lending itself readily to the compilation of 
terse yet complete reports. And occasionally Kirby was 
obliged to summon his henchman to correct or amend 
the day's tally sheet. 

Wherefore, the list in his hand, the American strolled 
down from his own knoll-top tent toward Najib's quar- 
ters. As Najib was superintendent, and thus technically 
an official, Kirby could make such domiciliary visits 
without loss of prestige, instead of summoning the Syr- 
ian to his presence by handclap or by messenger, as would 
have been necessary in dealing with any of the other 
employees. 

Najib's hut lay a hundred yards beyond the hollow 
where the fellaheen and soldiers were encamped. For 
Najib, too, had a dignity to uphold. He might no more 
lodge or break bread with his underlings than might 
Kirby with him. Yet, at times, preparatory to patter- 
ing up the knoll for his wonted evening chat with the 
American at the latter's campfire, Najib would so far 
unbend as to pause at the fellaheen's camp for a native 
discussion of many gestures and much loud talking. 



ON STRIKE 63 

So it was to-night. Just outside the radius of the fella- 
heen's firelight, Kirby paused. For he heard Najib's 
shrill voice uplifted in speech. And amusedly he halted 
and prepared to turn back. He had no wish to break 
in upon a harangue so interesting as the speaker seemed 
to find this one. 

Najib's voice was pitched far above the tones of nor- 
mal Eastern conversation ; — louder and more excited even 
than that of a professional story-teller. In Syria it is 
hard to believe that these professionals are merely telling 
an oft-heard Arabian Nights narrative; and not indulg- 
ing in delirium or apoplexy. 

Yet at a stray word of Najib's, Kirby checked invol- 
untarily his own retreat ; and paused again to look back. 
There stood Najib, in the center of the firelit circle; 
hands and head in wild motion. Around him, spell- 
bound, squatted the ring of his dark-faced and unwashed 
hearers. The superintendent, being with his own people, 
was orating in pure Arabic — or, rather, in the colloquial 
vernacular which is as close to pure Arabic as one can 
expect to hear, except among the remoter Bedouins. 

Thus it is ! " he was declaiming. " Even as I have 
sought to show you, oh, addle-witted offspring of mangy 
camels and one-eyed mules ! In that far country, when 
men are dissatisfied with their wage, they take counsel 
together and they say, one unto the other : ' Lo, we shall 
labour no more, unless our hire be greater and our toil 
hours less ! ' Then go they to their sheikh or whomever 
he be who hath hired them, and they say to him: 'Oh, 
favoured of Allah, behold we must have such and such 
wage and such and such hours of labour ! ' Then doth 
their sheikh cast ashes upon his beard and rend his gar- 
ments. For doth he not know his fate is Upon him and 
that his breath is in his nostrils? Yet will they not 
listen to his prayers; but at once they make ' strike. 1 

"Then doth their sheikh betake himself to the pasha 
with his grievance; beseeching the pasha, with many rich 
gifts, that he will throw those strike making labourers 
into prison and scourge their kinsmen with the kourbash. 
But the pasha maketh answer, with tears: ' Lo, ! am 
helpless! What saith the law? It saith that a man 



64 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

may make strike at will ; and that his employer must 
pay what is demanded ! ' Now, this pasha is named ' Gen- 
eral/ And his heart is as gall within him that he may 
not accept the rich gifts offered by the sheikh ; and pun- 
ish the labourers. Yet the law restraineth him. Then 
the sheikh, perchance, still refuseth the demands of his 
toilers. And they say to him then : * If you will not 
employ us and on the terms we ordain, then shall ye hire 
none others, for we shall overthrow those whom you 
set in our places. And perchance we shall destroy your 
warehouses or barns or shops ! ' This say they, when 
they know he hath greatest need of them. Then boweth 
their master his head upon his breast and saith : ' Be it 
even as ye will, my hirelings ! For I must obey ! ' And 
he giveth them, of his substance, whatsoever they may 
require. And all are glad. And under the new law, 
even in this land of ours, none may imprison or beat 
those who will not work. And all may demand and 
receive what wage they will. And " 

And Kirby waited to hear no more. With a groan 
of disgust at the orator's imbecility, he went back, up the 
hill, to his own tent. 

There, he drew forth his rickety sea chair and placed 
it in front of a patch of campfire that twinkled in the 
open space in front of the tent door. For, up there in 
the hills, the nights had an edge of chill to them ; be the 
days ever so hot. 

Stretching himself out lazily in his long chair, Kirby 
exhumed from a shirt pocket his disreputable brier pipe, 
and filled and lighted it. The big white Syrian stars 
glinted down on him from a black velvet sky. Along 
the nearer peaks and hollows of the Moab Mountains, 
the knots of prowling jackals kept up a running chorus 
of yapping — a discordant chant punctuated now and then 
by the far-away howl of a hunting wolf ; or, by the 
choking " laugh " of a hyena in the valley below, who 
thus gave forth the news of some especially delicious 
bit of carrion discovered among the rocks. 

And Kirby was reminded of Najib's quoted dictum 
that " laughter is for women and for hyenas." The 
memory brought back to him his squat henchman's weird 



ON STRIKE 65 

jumbling of the strike system. And he smiled in remi- 
niscent mirth. 

The Syrian had been his comrade in many a vicissi- 
tude. And he knew that Najib's fondness for him was as 
sincere as can be that of any Oriental for a foreigner, an 
affection based not wholly on self-interest. Kirby en- 
joyed his evening powwows with the superintendent be- 
side the campfire; and the little man's amazing faculty 
for mangling the English tongue. 

He rather missed Najib's presence to-night. But he 
was not to miss it for long. Just as he was about to 
knock out his pipe and go to bed, the native came patter- 
ing up the slope on excitedly rapid feet ; and squatted 
as usual on the ground beside the American's lounging 
chair. In Najib's manner there was a scarce-repressed 
jubilant thrill. His beady eyes shone wildly. Hardly 
had he seated himself when he broke the custom of 
momentary grave silence by blurting forth: 

" Furthermore, howadji, I am the bearer of gladly 
tidings which will make you to beshout yourself aloud 
for joyfulness and leap about and besclaim: * Pretty 
fair ! ' and other words of a grand rapture. For the 
bird will sing gleesome dirges in your heart ! " 

" Well ? " queried Kirby in no especial excitement. 
" I'm listening. But if the news is really so wonderful 
you surely took your time in bringing it. I've been here 
all evening, while you've stayed below there, trying to 
increase those fellaheens' stock of ignorance. What's the 
idea?" 

" Oh, I prythee you, do not let my awayness beget 
your goat, howadji!" pleaded Najib, ever sensitive to 
any hint of reproof from his master. " It was that 
which made the grand tidings. If I had not of been 
where I have been this evening — and doing what I have 
done — there would not be any tidings at all. I made the 
tidings myself. Both of them. And I made them for 
you. Is it that I may now tell them to you, howadji?" 

" Go ahead," adjured Kirby, humouring the wistful 
eagerness of the man. " What's the news you have for 
me?" 

"It is more than just a 'news/ howadji," corrected 



66 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Najib with jealous regard for shades of meaning. "It 
is a tidings. And it is this: You and my poor self and 
all the fellaheen and even those hell-selected pashalik 
soldiers — we are all to be rich. Most especially you, 
howadji. Wealthiness be waits us all. No longer shall 
any of us be downward and outward from povertude. 
No more shall any of us toil early and belatedly. We 
shall all live in easiness of hours and with much payment. 
Inshallah! Alhandidillah ! " he concluded, his rising ex- 
citement for once bursting the carefully nourished bounds 
of English and overflowing into Arabic expletive. 

Noting his own lapse into his native language, he looked 
sheepishly at Kirby, as though hoping the American had 
not heard the break. Then, with mounting eagerness, 
Najib struck the climax of his narrative. 

" To speak with a briefness, howadji," he proclaimed 
grandiloquently. " We have all stroked ourself s ! " 

"You've all done — what?" asked the puzzled Kirby. 

"Not we alone, howadji," amended Najib, "but you 
also ! We would not berich ourselves and leave you 
outward in the plan. It is you also who are to stroke 
yourself. And " 

" For the love of Heaven ! " exclaimed Kirby in sud- 
den loss of patience. "What are you driving at? 
What do you mean about ' stroking yourselves ' ? Say 
it in Arabic. Then perhaps I can find what you 
mean." 

" It is not to be said in the Arabic, howadji," returned 
Najib, wincing at this slur on his English. " For there 
is not such a thing in the Arabic as to make strike. We 
make strike. Thus I say it we " stroke ourselves." If 
it is the wrong way for saying it " 

" Strike ? " repeated Kirby, perplexed. " What do you 
mean? Are you still thinking about what I told you 
to-day? If you are going " 

" I have bethought of it, howadji, ever since," was 
the reply. " And it is because of my much bethoughting 
that I found my splenderous plan. That is my tidings. 
I bethought it all out with tremense clearness and wise- 
ness. Then I told those others, down yonder. At first 
they were of a stupidity. For it was so new. But at 



ON STRIKE 67 

last I made them understand. And they rejoiced of it. 
So it is all settled most sweetly. You may not fear that 
they will not stand by it. As soon as that was made 
sure I came to you to tell " 

" Najib ! " groaned Kirby, his head awhirl. " Will you 
stop chewing chunks of indigestible language, and tell 
me what you are jabbering about? What was it you 
thought over ? And what is ' all settled ' ? What 
will " 

" The strike, of an assuredly," explained Najib, as if 
in pity of his chief's denseness. " To-night we make 
strike. All of us. That is one tiding. And you, too, 
make strike with us. That is the other tiding. Making 
two tidings. We make strike. To-morrow we all sleep 
late. No work is to be made. And so it shall be, on 
each dear and nice and happy day, until Cabell Effendi 
— be his sons an hundred and his wives true ! — shall pay 
us the money we ask and make short our hours of toil. 
Then " 

Kirby sought to speak. But his breath was gone. 
He only gobbled. Taking the wordless sound for a 
token of high approval, Najib hastened on, more glibly, 
with his program. 

" On the to-morrow's morning, howadji," he said, 
" we enseech that you will write a sorrowsome letter 
to Cabell Effendi, in the Broad Street of New York; 
and say to him that all of us have made strike and that 
we shall work no more until we have from his hands a 
writing that our payment shall be two mejidie for every 
mejidie we have been capturing from his company. Also 
and likewise that we shall work but half time. And that 
you, howadji, are to receive even as we; save only that 
your wage is to be enswollen to three times over than 
what it is now. And say to him, howadji, that unless 
he does our wish in this striking we shall slay all others 
whom he may behire in our place and that we shall dyna- 
mitely destroy that nice mine. Remind him, howadji — 
if perchancely he does not know of such things — that 
the law is with us. Say, moreoverly, that there be many 
importanceful shipments and contracts just now. And 
say he will lose all if he be so bony of head as to refuse 



68 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

ms. Furthermore, howadji, tell him, I prythee you, that 
we " 

A veritable yell from Kirby broke in on the smug 
instructions. The American had recovered enough of 
his breath to expend a lungful of it in one profane 
bellow. In a flash he visualized the whole scene at the 
fellaheens' quarters — Najib's crazy explanation of the 
strike system and of the supposed immunity from pun- 
ishment that would follow sabotage and other violence; 
the fellaheens' duller brains gradually seizing on the idea 
until it had become as much a part of their mucilaginous 
mentality as the Koran itself ; and Najib's friendly desire 
that Kirby might share in the golden benefits of the new 
scheme. 

Yes, the American grasped the whole thing at once; 
his knowledge of the East foretelling to him its bound- 
less possibilities for mischief and for the ruin of the 
mine's new prosperity. He fairly strangled with the gust 
of wrath and impotent amaze which gripped him. 

Najib smiled up at him as might a dog that had just 
performed some pretty new trick, or a child who has 
brought to its father a gift. But the aspect of Kirby's 
distorted face there in the dying firelight shocked the 
Syrian into a grunt of terror. Scrambling to his feet, he 
sputtered quaveringly. 

"Tame yourself, howadji, I enseech you! Why are 
you not rejoiceful? Will it not mean much money for 
you; and " 

" You mangy brown rat ! " shouted Kirby in fury. 
" What in blazes have you done ? You know, as well 
as I do, that such an idea will never get out of those 
fellaheens' skulls, once it's really planted there. They'll 
believe every word of that wall-eyed rot you've been 
telling them! And they'll go on a genuine strike on the 
strength of it. They'll " 

" Of an assuredly, howadji, they will," assented the 
bewildered Najib. " I made me very assured of that. 
Four times I told it all over to them, until even pool 
Imbarak — whose witfulness hath been beblown out from 
his brain by the breath of the Most High — until even 
Imbarak understood. But why it should enrouse you 



ON STRIKE 69 

to a lionsome raging I cannot think. I bethought you 
would be pleasured " 

" Listen to me ! " ordered Kirby, righting hard for self- 
control and forcing himself to speak with unnatural 
slowness. " You've done more damage than if you had 
dynamited the whole mine and then turned a river into 
the shaft. This kind of news spreads. In a week there 
won't be a worker east of the Jordan who won't be 
a strike fan. And these people here will work the idea 
a step farther. I know them. They'll decide that if 
one strike is good, two strikes are better. And they will 
strike every week — loafing between times." 

This prospect brought a grin of pure bliss to Najib's 
swarthy face. He looked in new admiration upon his 
farsighted chief. Kirby went on : 

" Not that that will concern us. For this present 
strike will settle the Cabell mine. It means ruin to our 
business here, and the loss of all your jobs, as well as 
my own. Why, you idiot, can't you see what you've 
done? If you don't take that asinine grin off your ugly 
face, I'll knock it off ! " he burst out, his hard-held pa- 
tience momentarily fraying. 

Then, taking new hold on his self-control, Kirby began 
again to talk. As if addressing a defective child, which, 
as a matter of fact, he was doing, he expounded the 
hideous situation. 

He explained the disloyalty to the Cabells of such a 
move as Najib had planned. He pointed out the pride 
he and Najib had taken in the new business they had 
secured for the home office; and the fact that this new 
business had brought an increase of pay to them both 
as well as to the fellaheen. He showed how great a 
triumph for the mine was this vast increase of business ; 
and the stark necessity of impressing the new customers 
by the promptitude and uniform excellence of all ship- 
ments. He pointed out the utter collapse to this and 
to all the rest of the mine's connections which a strike 
would entail. Najib listened unmoved. 

Hopeless of hammering American ethics into the brain 
of an Oriental, Kirby set off at a new angle. He ex- 
plained the loss of prestige and position which he him- 



70 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

self would suffer. He would be discharged — probably 
by cable — for allowing the mine's bourgeoning prosperity 
to go to pieces in such fashion. Another and less lenient 
and understanding manager would be sent out to take 
his place. A manager whose first official act would 
probably be the discharging of Najib as the cause of the 
whole trouble. 

Najib listened to this with a new interest, but with 
no great conviction. 

Even Kirby's declaration that the ridiculous strike 
would be a failure, and that the government would as- 
suredly punish any damage done to the Cabell property, 
did not serve to impress him. Najib was a Syrian. An 
idea, once firm-rooted in his mind, was loathe to let 
itself be torn thence by mere words. Kirby waxed des- 
perate. 

" You have wrecked this whole thing ! " he stormed. 
" You got an idiotically wrong slant on what I told you 
about strikes to-day; and you have ruined us all. Even 
if you should go down there to the quarters this minute 
and tell the men that you were mistaken and that the 
strike is off — you know they wouldn't believe you. And 
you know they would go straight ahead with the thing. 
That's the Oriental of it. They'd refuse to go on work- 
ing. And our shipments wouldn't be delivered. None 
of the ore for the next shipments would be mined. The 
men would just hang about, peacefully waiting for 
the double pay and the half time that you've promised 
them." 

" Of an assuredly, that is true, howadji," conceded 
Najib. " They would " 

"They will!" corrected Kirby with grim hopelessness. 

" But soon Cabell Effendi will reply to your letter," 
went on Najib. "And then the double paying " 

" To my letter ! " mocked the raging Kirby. 

Then he paused, a sudden inspiration smiting him. 

" Najib," he continued after a minute of concentrated 
thought, " you have sense enough to know one thing : 
You have sense enough to know you people can't get 
that extra pay till I write to Mr. Cabell and demand it 
for you. There's not another one of you who can write 



ON STRIKE 71 

English. There's no one here but yourself who can 
speak or understand it or make shift to spell out a few 
English words in print. And Mr. Cabell doesn't know a 
word of Arabic — let alone the Arabic script. And your 
own two years at Coney Island must have shown you 
that no New Yorkers would know how to read an Arabic 
letter to him. Now, I swear to you, by every Christian 
and Moslem oath, that / shan't write such a letter ! So 
how are you going to get word to him that you people 
are on strike and that you won't do another lick of work 
till you get double pay and half time? How are you 
going to do that ? " 

Najib's solid face went blank. Here at last was an 
argument that struck home. He had known Kirby for 
years, long enough to know that the American was most 
emphatically a man of his word. If Kirby swore he 
would not act as the men's intermediary with the com- 
pany, then decisively Kirby would keep his oath. And 
Najib realized the futility of getting any one else to 
write such a letter in any language which the Cabell 
Smelting Company's home office would decipher. 

He peered up at Kirby with disconsolate astonishment. 
Quick to take advantage of the change, the manager 
hurried on : 

" Now, the men are on strike. That's understood. 
Well, what are you and they going to do about it ? When 
the draft for the monthly pay roll comes to the bank, 
at Jerusalem, as usual, I shall refuse to indorse it. I 
give you my oath on that, too. I am not going to dis- 
tribute the company's cash among a bunch of strikers. 
Without my signature, the bank won't cash the draft. 
You know that. Well, how are you going to live, all 
of you, on nothing a month? When the present stock 
of provisions gives out I'm not going to order them re- 
newed. And the provision people in Jerusalem won't 
honour any one's order for them but mine. This is the 
only concern in Syria to-day that pays within forty per 
cent, of the wages you chaps are getting. With no pay 
and no food you're due to find your strike rather costly. 
For when the mine shuts down I'm going back to Amer- 
ica. There'll be nothing to keep me here. I'll be ruined, 



72 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

in any case. You people will find yourself without 
money or provisions. And if you go elsewhere for work 
it will be at pay that is only a little more than half 
what you are getting now. Your lookout isn't cheery, 
my striking friend ! " 

He made as though to go into his tent. After a brief 
pause of horror, Najib pattered hurriedly and beseech- 
ingly in his wake. 

" Howadji ! " pleaded the Syrian shakily. " Hozvadji! 
You would not, in the untamefulness of your mad, de- 
sertion us like that? Not me, at anyhow? Not me, who 
have loved you as Daoud the Emir loved Jonathan of 
old ! You would not forsook me, to starve myself ! 
Aid Ohe!" 

" Shut up that ungodly racket ! " snapped Kirby, en- 
tering his tent and lighting his lamp, as the first piercing 
notes of the traditional mourner chant exploded through 
the unhappy Na jib's wide-flung jaws. " Shut up ! You'll 
start every hyena and jackal in the mountains to howling ! 
It's bad enough as it is without adding a native concert 
to the rest of the mess." 

"But, howadji!" pleaded Najib. 

" Tamdn!" growled Kirby, summarily speaking the 
age-hallowed Arabic word for the ending of all inter- 
views. 

" But I shall be beruinated, howadji!" tearfully in- 
sisted Najib. 

Covertly the American watched his henchman while 
pretending to make ready for bed. If he had fully and 
permanently scared Najib into a conviction that the strike 
would spell ruin for the Syrian himself, then the little 
man's brain might possibly be jarred into one of its rare 
intervals of uncanny craftiness; and Najib might hit 
upon some way of persuading the fellaheen that the 
strike was off. 

This was Kirby's sole hope. And he knew it. Unless 
the fellaheen could be so convinced, it meant the strike 
would continue until it should break the mine as well 
as the mine's manager. Kirby knew of no way to per- 
suade the men. The same arguments which had crushed 
Najib would mean nothing to them. All their brains 



ON STRIKE 73 

could master at one time, without the aid of some up- 
rooting shock, was that henceforth they were to get 
double pay and half labour. 

A calm fatalism of hopelessness, bred perhaps of his 
long residence in the homeland of fatalism, began to 
creep over Kirby. In one hour his golden ambitions 
for the mine and for himself had been smashed. At 
best he saw no hope of getting the obsessed mine crew 
to work soon enough to save his present contracts. He 
would be lucky if, on non-receipt of their demanded in- 
crease, they did not follow Najib's muddled preachments 
to the point of sabotage. 

The more he thought of it, the less possible did it 
seem to Kirby that Najib could undo the damage he 
had so blithely done. Ordering the blubbering little 
fellow out of the tent and refusing to speak or listen 
further, Kirby went to bed. 

Oddly enough, he slept. There was nothing to worry 
about. When a man's job or fortune are imperilled sleep 
vanishes. But after the catastrophe what sense is there 
in lying awake? Depression and nervous fatigue threw 
Kirby into a troubled slumber. Only once in the night 
was he roused. 

Perhaps two hours before dawn he started up at 
sound of a humble scratching at the open door flap of 
his tent. On the threshold cowered Najib. 

" Furthermore, howadji," came the Syrian's woe-be- 
gone voice through the gloom, " could I borrow me a 
book if I shall use it with much carefulness ? " 

Too drowsy to heed the absurdity of such a plea at 
such an hour, Kirby grumbled a surly assent, and dozed 
again as he heard Najib rumbling, in the dark, among 
the shelves of the packing-box bookcase in a far corner 
of the tent. Here were stored nearly a hundred old 
volumes which had once been a part of the missionary 
library belonging to Kirby's father at Nablous. A few 
years earlier, at the moving of the mission, the dead mis- 
sionary's scanty library had been shipped across country 
to his son. 

Kirby awoke at greyest daylight. Through force of 
habit he woke at this hour ; in spite of the workless day 



74 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

which he knew confronted him. It was his custom to get 
up and take his bath in the rain cistern at this time, and 
to finish dressing just as the men piled out for the 
morning's work. 

Yet now the first sounds that smote his ears as he 
opened his eyes were the rhythmic creak of the mine 
windlass and the equally rhythmic, if less tuneful, chant 
of the men who were working it: 

" All-ah sa-ecd! — Nc-bi sa-ccd! Ohc! Sa-eed! Sa- 
eed! Sa-EED!" 

In the distance, dying away, he heard the plodding 
hoofs of a string of pack mules. From the direction 
of the mine came the hoodlum racket which betokens, 
in Syria, the efforts of a number of honest labourers 
to perform their daily tasks in an efficient and orderly 
way. 

Kirby, in sleepy amaze, looked at his watch in the dim 
dawn light. He saw it was still a full half hour before 
the men were due to begin work. And by the sounds 
he judged that the day's labour was evidently well under 
way. Yes, and to-day there was to have been no work 
done ! 

Kirby jumped out of bed and strode dazedly to his 
tent door. At the mine below him his fellaheen were 
as busy as so many dirty and gaudy bees. Even the 
lordly lazy Turkish soldiers were lending a hand at 
windlass and crane. Over the nick of the pass, leading 
toward Jerusalem, the last animal of a mule train was 
vanishing. Najib, who had as usual escorted the de- 
parting shipment of ore to the opening in the pass, was 
trotting back toward camp. 

At sight of Kirby in the tent door the little super- 
intendent veered from his course toward the mine and 
increased his pace to a run as he bore down upon the 
American. Najib's swart face was aglow. But his eyes 
were those of a man who has neglected to sleep. His 
cheeks still bore flecks of the dust he had thrown on 
his head when Kirby had explained the wreck of his 
scheme and of his future. There, in all likelihood, the 
dust smears would remain until the next rain should 
wash them off. But, beyond these tokens of recent 



ON STRIKE 75 

mental strife, Najib's visage shone like a full moon that 
is streaked by dun dust clouds. 

" Furthermore, howadji ! " he hailed his chief as soon 
as he was within earshot, " the shipment for Alexandretta 
is on its wayward — over than an hour earlier than it was 
due to bestart itself. And those poor hell-selected fella- 
heen are betoiling themselfs grand. Have I done well, 
oh, howadji ? " 

"Najib!" stammered Kirby, still dazed. 

" And here is that most sweet book of great worthi- 
ness and wit, which I borrowed me of you in the night, 
howadji," pursued Najib, taking from the soiled folds 
of his abieh a large old volume, bound in stout leather, 
after the manner of religious or scientific books of a 
half-century ago. On the brown back a scratched gold 
lettering proclaimed the gruesome title : 

" Martyrs of Ancient and Modern Error." 

Well did Kirby know the tome. Hundreds of times, 
as a child, had he sat on the stone floor of his father's 
cell-like mission study at Nablous, and had pored in 
shuddering fascination over its highly coloured illustra- 
tions. The book was a compilation — chiefly in the form 
of multichrome pictures with accompanying borders of 
text — of all the grisly scenes of martyrdom which the 
publishers had been able to scrape together from such 
classics as " Fox's Book of Martyrs " and the like. 
Twice this past year he had surprised Najib scanning 
the gruesome pages in frank delight. 

" I betook the book to their campfire, howadji, and I 
smote upon my breast and I bewept me and I wailed 
aloud and I would not make comfort. Till at last they 
all awoken and they came out of their huts and they 
reviled at me for disturbing them as they slept themselfs 
so happily. Then I spake much to them. And all the 
time I teared with my eyes and moaned aloudly." 

" But," put in Kirby, " I don't see what this " 

" In a presently you shall, howadji. Yesterday I be- 
got your goat. To-day I shall make you to frisk with 
peacefulness of heart. Those fellaheen cannot read. 
They are not of an education, as I am. And they know" 
my wiseness in reading. For over than a trillion times 



76 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

I have told them. And they believe. Pictures also they 
believe. Just as men of an education believe the printed 
word; knowing full well it could not be printed if it 
were not Allah's own truth. Well, these folk believe 
a picture, if it be in a book. So I showed them pictures. 
And I read the law which was beneath the pictures. 
They heard me read. And they saw the pictures with 
their own eyesight. So what could they do but believe? 
And they did. Behold, howadji!" 

Opening the volume with respectful care, Najib 
thumbed the yellowing pages. Presently he paused at 
a picture which represented in glaring detail a stricken 
battlefield strewn with dead and dying Orientals of 
vivid costume. In the middle distance a regiment of 
prisoners was being slaughtered in singularly blood- 
thirsty fashion. The caption, above the cut, read: 

"Destruction of Sennacherib's Assyrian Hosts, by the 
People of Israel." 

" While yet they gazed joyingly on this noble picture," 
remarked Najib, " I read to them the words of the law 
about it. I read aloudly, thus : * This shall be the way 
of punishing all folk who make strike hereafter this 
date.' Then," continued Najib, " I showed to them an- 
other pretty and splendid picture. See ! " 

"Martyrdom of John Rogers, His Wife and Their 
Nine Children!' 

"And," proclaimed Najib, "of this sweet portrait 
I read thus the law : ' So shall the wif es and the off- 
sprungs of all strike-makers be put to death; and those 
wicked strike-makers themselfs along with them.' By 
the time I had shown them six or fifteen of such pic- 
tures and read them the law for each of them, those 
miserable fellaheen and guards were beweeping them- 
selfs harder and louder and sadder than I had seemed 
to. Why, howadji, it was with a difficultness that I kept 
them from running away and enhiding themselfs in the 
mountains, lest the soldiers of the pasha come upon them 
at once and punish them for trying to make strike ! 
But I said I would intercede with you to make you 
merciful of heart toward them, to spare them and not 
to tell the law what they had so sinsomely planned to 



ON STRIKE 77 

do. I said I would do this, for mine own sake as well 
as for theirs, and that I knew I could wake you to pity. 
But I said it would perchancely soften your heart to- 
ward them, if all should work harder to atone themselfs 
for the sin they had beplotted. Wherefore, howadji, 
they would consent to sleep no more; but they ran 
henceforthly and at once to the mine. They have been 
onto the job ever since. And, howadji, they are jobbing 
harder than ever I have seen men bejob themselfs. Am 
I forgiven, howadji?" he finished timidly. 

" Forgiven ! " yelled Kirby, when he could speak. 
" Why, you eternal little liar, you're a genius ! My hat 
is off to you! This ought to be worth a fifty-mejidie 
bonus. And " 

" Instead of the bonus, howadji," ventured Najib, 
scared at his own audacity, yet seeking to take full ad- 
vantage of this moment of expansiveness, " could I have 
this pleasing book as a baksheesh gift?" 

" Take it ! " vouchsafed Kirby. " The thing gives me 
bad dreams. Take it ! " 

" May the houris make soft your bed in the Paradise 
of the Prophet!" jabbered Najib, in a frenzy of grati- 
tude, as he hugged the treasured gift to his breast. " And 
— and, howadji, there be more pictures I did not show. 
They will be of a nice convenience, if ever again it be 
needsome to make a new law for the mine." 

" But " 

" Oh, happy and pretty decent hour ! " chortled the 
little man, petting his beloved volume as if it were a 
loved child and executing a shuffling and improvised 
step-dance of unalloyed rapture. " This book has been 
donationed to me because I was brave enough to request 
for it while yet your heart was warm at me, howadji. 
It is even as your sainted f eringhee proverb says : 
' Never put off till to-morrow the — the — man who may 
be done, to-day ! ' w 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 

By EDISON MARSHALL 
From Everybody's Magazine 

AN elephant is old on the day he is born, say the 
l natives of Burma, and no white man is ever quite 
sure just what they mean. Perhaps they refer to his 
pink, old-gentleman's skin and his droll, fumbling, old- 
man ways and his squeaking treble voice. And maybe 
they mean he is born with a wisdom such as usually 
belongs only to age. And it is true that if any animal 
in the world has had a chance to acquire knowledge it 
is the elephant, for his breed are the oldest residents of 
this old world. 

They are so old that they don't seem to belong to the 
twentieth century at all. Their long trunks, their huge 
shapes, all seem part of the remote past. They are 
just the remnants of a breed that once was great. 

Long and long ago, when the world was very young 
indeed, when the mountains were new, and before the 
descent of the great glaciers taught the meaning of cold, 
they were the rulers of the earth, but they have been con- 
quered in the struggle for existence. Their great cousins, 
the mastodon and the mammoth, are completely gone, 
and their own tribe can now be numbered by thousands. 

But because they have been so long upon the earth, 
because they have wealth of experience beyond all other 
creatures, they seem like venerable sages in a world of 
children. They are like the last veterans of an old 
war, who can remember scenes and faces that all others 
have forgotten. 

Far in a remote section of British India, in a strange, 
wild province called Burma, Muztagh was born. And 
although he was born in captivity, the property of a 

78 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 79 

mahout, in his first hour he heard the far-off call of 
the wild elephants in the jungle. 

The Burmans, just like the other people of India, 
always watch the first hour of a baby's life very closely. 
They know that always some incident will occur that 
will point, as a weather-vane points in the wind, to the 
baby's future. Often they have to call a man versed 
in magic to interpret, but sometimes the prophecy is 
quite self-evident. No one knows whether or not it 
works the same with baby elephants, but certainly this 
wild, far-carrying call, not to be imitated by any living 
voice, did seem a token and an omen in the life of 
Muztagh. And it is a curious fact that the little baby 
lifted his ears at the sound and rocked back and forth 
on his pillar legs. 

Of all the places in the great world, only a few re- 
main wherein a captive elephant hears the call of his 
wild brethren at birth. Muztagh's birthplace lies around 
the corner of the Bay of Bengal, not far from the 
watershed of the Irawadi, almost north of Java. It 
is strange and wild and dark beyond the power of words 
to tell. There are great dark forests, unknown, slow- 
moving rivers, and jungles silent and dark and impene- 
trable. 

Little Muztagh weighed a flat two hundred pounds 
at birth. But this was not the queer* I thing about 
him. Elephant babies, although usually weighing not 
more than one hundred and eighty, often touch two hun- 
dred. The queerest thine was a peculiarity that prob- 
ably was completely overlooked by his mother. It' she 
Baw it out of her dull eyes, she took no notice of it. 
It was not definitely discovered until the mahout came 
out of his but with a ' r a tirst inspection. 

1 le had been v. lid of the motl 

pam. "//(//.'" he had exclaimed to his wii M Who 
ha ever heard a cow bav< 1 l< »ud in laboui 1 1 e 

little one that tO morrow you will Bee beneath her belly 

must weigh more than you ' 

This was rather .1 compliment to hlfl plnmp wife. 

She was not offended al all. Burman women love to 
in- well-rounded. But the mahout ting 



80 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

the effect of his words. He was busy lighting his fire- 
brand, and his features seemed sharp and intent when 
the beams came out. Rather he was already weighing 
the profits of little Muztagh. He was an elephant- 
catcher by trade, in the employ of the great white Dugan 
Sahib, and the cow that was at this ' moment bringing 
a son into the world was his own property. If the baby 
should be of the Kumiria 

The mahout knew elephants from head to tail, and 
he was very well acquainted with the three grades that 
compose that breed. The least valuable of all are the 
Mierga — a light, small-headed, thin-skinned, weak- 
trunked and unintelligent variety that are often found 
in the best elephant herds. They are often born of the 
most noble parents, and they are as big a problem to 
elephant men as razor-backs to hog-breeders. Then there 
is a second variety, the Dwasala, that compose the great 
bulk of the herd — a good, substantial, strong, intelligent 
grade of elephant. But the Kumiria is the best of all ; 
and when one is born in a captive herd it is a time for 
rejoicing. He is the perfect elephant — heavy, symmetri- 
cal, trustworthy and fearless — fitted for the pageantry 
of kings. 

He hurried out to the lines, for now he knew that the 
baby was born. The mother's cries had ceased. The 
jungle, dark and savage beyond ever the power of man 
to tame, lay just beyond. He could feel its heavy air, 
its smells ; its silence was an essence. And as he stood, 
lifting the fagot high, he heard the wild elephants trum- 
peting from the hills. 

He turned his head in amazement. A Burman, and 
particularly one who chases the wild elephants in their 
jungles, is intensely superstitious, and for an instant it 
seemed to him that the wild trumpeting must have some 
secret meaning, it was so loud and triumphant and 
prolonged. It was greatly like the far-famed elephant 
salute — ever one of the mysteries of those most mys- 
terious of animals — that the great creatures utter at 
certain occasions and times. 

"Are you saluting this little one?" he cried. "He is 
not a wild tusker like you. He is not a wild pig of the 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS St 

jungle. He is born in bonds, such as you will wear 
too, after the next drive ! " 

They trumpeted again, as if in scorn of his words. 
Their great strength was given them to rule the jungle, 
not to haul logs and pull chains ! The man turned back 
to the lines and lifted higher his light. 

Yes — the little elephant in the light-glow was of the 
Kumiria. Never had there been a more perfect calf. 
The light of greed sprang again in his eyes. And as 
he held the fagot nearer so that the beams played in 
the elephant's eyes and on his coat, the mahout sat 
down and was still, lest the gods observe his good luck, 
and, being jealous, turn it into evil. 

The coat was not pinky dark, as is usual in baby 
elephants. It was distinctly light-coloured — only a few 
degrees darker than white. 

The man understood at once. In the elephants, as 
well as in all other breeds, an albino is sometimes born. 
A perfectly white elephant, up to a few years ago, had 
never been seen, but on rare occasions elephants are 
born with light-coloured or clouded hides. Such crea- 
tures are bought at fabulous prices by the Malay and 
Siamese princes, to whom a white elephant is the great- 
est treasure that a king can possess. 

Muztagh was a long way from being an albino, yet 
a tendency in that direction had bleached his hide. And 
the man knew that on the morrow Dugan Sahib would 
pay him a lifetime's earnings for the little wabbly calf, 
whose welcome had been the wild cries of the tuskers 
in the jungle. 

II 

Little Muztagh (which means White Mountain in an 
ancient tongue) did not enjoy his babyhood at all. He 
was born with the memory of jungle kingdoms, and the 
life in the elephant lines almost killed him with dulness. 

There was never anything to do but nurse of the 
strong elephant milk and roam about in the keddah or 
along the lines. He had been bought the second day 
of his life by Dugan Sahib, and the great white heaven- 



82 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

born saw to it that he underwent none of the risks 
that are the happy fate of most baby elephants. His 
mother was not taken on the elephant drives into the 
jungles, so he never got a taste of this exciting sport. 
Mostly she was kept chained in the lines, and every 
day Langur Dass, the low-caste hillman in Dugan's em- 
ploy, grubbed grass for her in the valleys. All night 
long, except the regular four hours of sleep, he would 
hear her grumble and rumble and mutter discontent that 
her little son shared with her. 

Muztagh's second year was little better. Of course 
he had reached the age where he could eat such dainties 
as grass and young sugar-cane, but these things could 
not make up for the fun he was missing in the hills. 
He would stand long hours watching their purple tops 
against the skies, and his little dark eyes would glow. 
He would see the storms break and flash above them, 
behold the rains lash down through the jungles, and 
he was always filled with strange longings and desires 
that he was too young to understand or to follow. He 
would see the white haze steam up from the labyrinth 
of wet vines, and he would tingle and scratch for the 
feel of its wetness on his skin. And often, when the 
mysterious Burman night came down, it seemed to him 
that he would go mad. He would hear the wild tuskers 
trumpeting in the jungles a very long way off, and all 
the myriad noises of the mysterious night, and at such 
times even his mother looked at him with wonder. 

" Oh, little restless one," Langur Dass would say, 
" thou and that old cow thy mother and I have one heart 
between us. We know the burning — we understand, 
we three ! " 

It was true that Langur Dass understood more of the 
ways of the forest people than any other hillman in the 
encampment. But his caste was low, and he was drunken 
and careless and lazy beyond words, and the hunters 
had mostly only scorn for him. They called him Langur 
after a grey-bearded breed of monkeys along the slopes 
of the Himalayas, rather suspecting he was cursed with 
evil spirits, for why should any sane man have such 
mad ideas as to the rights of elephants ? He never wanted 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 83 

to join in the drives — which was a strange thing indeed 
for a man raised in the hills. Perhaps he was afraid — 
but yet they could remember a certain day in the bamboo 
thickets, when a great, wild buffalo had charged their 
camp and Langur Dass acted as if fear were something 
he had never heard of and knew nothing whatever 
about. 

One day they asked him about it. " Tell us, Langur 
Dass," they asked, mocking the ragged, dejected-looking 
creature, " if thy name speaks truth, thou art brother 
to many monkey-folk, and who knows the jungle better 
than thou or they ? None but the monkey-folk and thou 
canst talk with my lord the elephant. Hail We have 
seen thee do it, Langur Dass. How is it that when we 
go hunting, thou art afraid to come? " 

Langur looked at them out of his dull eyes, and 
evaded their question just as long as he could. " Have 
you forgotten the tales you heard on your mothers' 
breasts?" he asked at last. "Elephants are of the 
jungle. You are of the cooking-pots and thatch ! How 
should such folk as ye are understand? " 

This was flat heresy from their viewpoint. There is 
an old legend among the elephant-catchers to the effect 
that at one time men were subject to the elephants. 

Yet mostly the elephants that these men knew were 
patient and contented in their bonds. Mostly they loved 
their mahouts, gave their strong backs willingly to toil, 
and were always glad and ready to join in the chase after 
others of their breed. Only on certain nights of the 
year, when the tuskers called from the jungles, and 
the spirit of the wild was abroad, would their love of 
liberty return to them. But to all this little Muztagh 
was distinctly an exception. Even though he had been 
born in captivity, his desire for liberty was with him 
just as constantly as his trunk or his ears. 

He had no love for the mahout that rode his mother. 
He took little interest in the little brown boys and girls 
that played before his stall. He would stand and look 
over their heads into the wild, dark heart of the jungle 
that no man can ever quite understand. And being only 
a beast, he did not know anything about the caste and 



84 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

prejudices of the men he saw, but he did know that 
one of them, the low-caste Langur Dass, ragged and 
dirty and despised, wakened a responsive chord in his 
lonely heart. 

They would have long talks together, that is, Langur 
would talk and Muztagh would mumble. " Little calf, 
little fat one," the man would say, " can great rocks stop 
a tree from growing? Shall iron shackles stop a prince 
from being king? Muztagh — jewel among jewels ! Thy 
heart speaks through those sleepless eyes of thine ! Have 
patience — what thou knowest, who shall take away from 
thee?" 

But most of the mahouts and catchers noticed the 
rapidity with which the little Muztagh acquired weight 
and strength. He outweighed, at the age of three, any 
calf of his season in the encampment by a full two hun- 
dred pounds. And of course three in an elephant is no 
older than three in a human child. He was still just 
a baby, even if he did have the wild tuskers' love of 
liberty. 

" Shalt thou never lie the day long in the cool mud, 
little one? Never see a storm break on the hills? Nor 
feel a warm rain dripping through the branches? Or 
are these matters part of thee that none may steal ? " 
Langur Dass would ask him, contented to wait a very 
long time for his answer. " I think already that thou 
knowest how the tiger steals away at thy shrill note; 
how thickets feel that crash beneath thy hurrying weight ! 
A little I think thou knowest how the madness comes 
with the changing seasons. How knowest thou these 
things? Not as I know them, who have seen — nay, but 
as a king knows conquering ; it's in thy blood ! Is a 
bundle of sugar-cane tribute enough for thee, Kumiria? 
Shall purple trappings please thee? Shall some fat rajah 
of the plains make a beast of burden of thee? Answer, 
lord of mighty memories ! " 

And Muztagh answered in his own way, without 
sound or emphasis, but giving his love to Langur Dass, 
a love as large as the big elephant heart from which it 
had sprung. No other man could even win his friend- 
ship. The smell of the jungle was on Langur Dass. 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 85 

The mahouts and hunters smelt more or less of civiliza- 
tion and were convinced for their part that the disposi- 
tion of the little light-coloured elephant was beyond re- 
demption. 

" He is a born rogue," was their verdict, and they 
meant by that, a particular kind of elephant, sometimes 
a young male, more often an old and savage tusker, alone 
in the jungle — apart from the herd. Solitariness doesn't 
improve their dispositions, and they were generally ex- 
pelled from a herd for ill-temper to begin with. " Woe 
to the fool prince who buys this one ! " said the grey- 
beard catchers. " There is murder in his eyes." 

But Langur Dass would only look wise when he heard 
these remarks. He knew elephants. The gleam in the 
dark eyes of Muztagh was not viciousness, but simply 
inheritance, a love of the wide wild spaces that left no 
room for ordinary friendships. 

But calf-love and mother-love bind other animals as 
well as men, and possibly he might have perfectly ful- 
filled the plans Dugan had made for him but for a mis- 
take the sahib made in the little calf's ninth year. 

He sold Muztagh's mother to an elephant-breeder from 
a distant province. Little Muztagh saw her march away 
between two tuskers — down the long elephant trail into 
the valley and the shadow. 

" Watch the little one closely to-night," Dugan Sahib 
said to his mahout. So when they had led him back 
and forth along the lines, they saw that the ends of 
his ropes were pegged down tightly. They were horse- 
hair ropes, far beyond the strength of any normal nine- 
year-old elephant to break. Then they went to the 
huts and to their women and left him to shift restlessly 
from foot to foot, and think. 

Probably he would have been satisfied with thinking, 
for Muztagh did not know his strength, and thought he 
was securely tied. The incident that upset the mahout's 
plans was simply that the wild elephants trumpeted 
again from the hills. 

Muztagh heard the sound, long drawn and strange 
from the silence of the jungle. He grew motionless. 
The great ears pricked forward, the whipping tail stood 



86 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

still. It was a call never to be denied. The blood was 
leaping in his great veins. 

He suddenly rocked forward with all his strength. 
The rope spun tight, hummed, and snapped — very softly 
indeed. Then he padded in silence out among the huts, 
and nobody who had not seen him do it would believe 
how silently an elephant can move when he sees fit. 

There was no thick jungle here — just soft grass, huts, 
approaching dark fringe that was the jungle. None 
of the mahouts was awake to see him. No voice called 
him back. The grass gave way to bamboo thickets, the 
smell of the huts to the wild, bewitching perfumes of the 
jungle. 

Then, still in silence, because there are decencies to 
be observed by animals no less than men, he walked 
forward with his trunk outstretched into the primordial 
jungle and was born again. 

Ill 

Muztagh's reception was cordial from the very first. 
The great bulls of the herd stood still and lifted their 
ears when they heard him grunting up the hill. But he 
slipped among them and was forgotten at once. They 
had no dealings with the princes of Malay and Siam, 
and his light-coloured coat meant nothing whatever to 
them. If they did any thinking about him at all, it was 
just to wonder why a calf with all the evident marks 
of a nine-year-old should be so tall and weigh so much. 

One can fancy that the great old wrinkled tusker that 
led the herd peered at him now and then out of his 
little red eyes, and wondered. A herd-leader begins to 
think about future contestants for his place as soon as 
he acquires the leadership. But Hat! This little one 
would not have his greatest strength for fifteen years. 

It was a compact, medium-sized herd — vast males, 
mothers, old-maid elephants, long-legged and ungainly, 
young males just learning their strength and proud of 
it beyond words, and many calves. They ranged all the 
way in size from the great leader, who stood ten feet 
and weighed nearly nine thousand pounds, to little two- 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 87 

hundred-and-fifty-pound babies that had been born that 
season. And before long the entire herd began its 
cautious advance into the deeper hills. 

The first night in the jungle — and Muztagh found it 
wonderful past all dreams. The mist on his skin was 
the same cool joy he had expected. There were sounds, 
too, that set his great muscles aquiver. He heard the 
sound that the bamboos make — the little click-click of the 
stems in the wind — the soft rustle and stir of many leafy 
tendrils entwining and touching together, and the whis- 
per of the wind over the jungle grass. And he knew, 
because it was his heritage, what every single one of 
these sounds meant. 

The herd threaded through the dark jungle, and now 
they descended into a cool river. A herd of deer — 
either the dark sambur or black buck — sprang from the 
misty shore-line and leaped away into the bamboos. Far- 
ther down, he could hear the grunt of buffalo. 

It was simply a caress — the touch of the soft, cool 
water on his flanks. Then they reared out, like great 
sea-gods rising from the deep, and grunted and squealed 
their way up the banks into the jungle again. 

But the smells were the book that he read best; he 
understood them even better than the sounds of green 
things growing. Flowers that he could not see hung 
like bells from the arching branches. Every fern and 
every seeding grass had its own scent that told sweet 
tales. The very mud that his four feet sank into emitted 
scent that told the history of jungle-life from the world's 
beginnings. When dawn burst over the eastern hills, he 
was weary in every muscle of his young body, but much 
too happy to admit it. 

This day was just the first of three thousand joyous 
days. The jungle, old as the world itself, is ever new. 
Not even the wisest elephant, who, after all, is king 
of the jungle, knows what will turn up at the next bend 
in the elephant trail. It may be a native woodcutter, 
whose long hair is stirred with fright. It may easily 
be one of the great breed of bears, large as the American 
grizzly, that some naturalists believe are to be found 
in the Siamese and Bunnan jungles. It may be a herd 



88 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

of wild buffalo, always looking for a fight, or simply 
some absurd armadillo-like thing, to make him shake his 
vast sides with mirth. 

The herd was never still. They ranged from one 
mysterious hill to another, to the ranges of the Himalayas 
and back again. There were no rivers that they did 
not swim, no jungles that they did not penetrate, no 
elephant trails that they did not follow, in the whole 
northeastern corner of British India. And all the time 
Muztagh's strength grew upon him until it became too 
vast a thing to measure or control. 

Whether or not he kept with the herd was by now 
a matter of supreme indifference to him. He no longer 
needed its protection. Except for the men who came 
with the ropes and guns and shoutings, there was noth- 
ing in the jungle for him to fear. He was twenty years 
old, and he stood nearly eleven feet to the top of his 
shoulders. He would have broken any scales in the In- 
dian Empire that tried to weigh him. 

He had had his share of adventures, yet he knew that 
life in reality had just begun. The time would come 
when he would want to fight the great arrogant bull 
for the leadership of the herd. He was tired of fighting 
the young bulls of his own age. He always won, and 
to an elephant constant winning is almost as dull as 
constant losing. He was a great deal like a youth of 
twenty in any breed of any land — light-hearted, self-con- 
fident, enjoying every minute of wakefulness between 
one midnight and another. He loved the jungle smells 
and the jungle sounds, and he could even tolerate the 
horrible laughter of the hyenas that sometimes tore to 
shreds the silence of the grassy plains below. 

But India is too thickly populated by human beings 
for a wild elephant to escape observation entirely. Many 
natives had caught sight of him, and at last the tales 
reached a little circle of trackers and hunters in camp 
on a distant range of hills. They did not work for 
Dugan Sahib, for Dugan Sahib was dead long since. 
They were a determined little group, and one night they 
sat and talked softly over their fire. If Muztagh's ears 
had been sharp enough to hear their words across the 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 89 

space of hills, he wouldn't have gone to his mud-baths 
with such complacency the next day. But the space 
between them was fifty miles of sweating jungle, and 
of course he did not hear. 

" You will go, Khusru," said the leader, " for there 
are none here half so skilful with horsehair rope as 
you. If you do not come back within twelve months, 
we shall know you have failed." 

Of course all of them knew what he meant. If a 
man failed in the effort to capture a wild elephant by 
the hair-rope method, he very rarely lived to tell of it. 

" In that case," Ahmad Din went on, " there will be 
a great drive after the monsoon of next year. Picked 
men will be chosen. No detail will be overlooked. It 
will cost more, but it will be sure. And our purses 
will be fat from the selling-price of this king of ele- 
phants with a white coat ! " 

IV 

There is no need to follow Khusru on his long pursuit 
through the elephant trails. Pie was an able hunter and, 
after the manner of the elephant-trackers, the scared 
little man followed Muztagh through jungle and river, 
over hill and into dale, for countless days, and at last, 
as Muztagh slept, he crept up within a half-dozen feet 
of him. He intended to loop a horsehair rope about 
his great feet — one of the oldest and most hazardous 
methods of elephant-catching. But Muztagh wakened 
just in time. 

And then a curious thing happened. The native could 
never entirely believe it, and it was one of his best 
stories to the day he died. Any other wild tusker would 
have charged in furious wrath, and there would have 
been a quick and certain death beneath his great knees. 
Muztagh started out as if he had intended to charge. 
He lifted his trunk out of the way — the elephant trunk 
is for a thousand uses, but fighting is not one of them 
— and sprang forward. He went just two paces. Then 
his little eyes caught sight of the brown figure fleeing 
through the bamboos. And at once the elephant set 



90 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

his great feet to brake himself, and drew to a sliding 
halt six feet beyond. 

He did not know why. He was perfectly aware that 
this man was an enemy, jealous of his most-loved lib- 
erty. He knew perfectly it was the man's intention 
to put him back into his bonds. He did not feel fear, 
either — because an elephant's anger is too tremendous 
an emotion to leave room for any other impulse such 
as fear. It seemed to him that memories came throng- 
ing from long ago, so real and insistent that he could 
not think of charging. 

He remembered his days in the elephant lines. These 
brown creatures had been his masters then. They had 
cut his grass for him in the jungle, and brought him 
bundles of sugar-cane. The hill people say that the 
elephant memory is the greatest single marvel in the 
jungle, and it was that memory that saved Khusru then. 
It wasn't deliberate gratitude for the grass-cutting of 
long ago. It wasn't any particular emotion that he could 
reach out his trunk and touch. It was simply an im- 
pulse — another one of the thousand mysteries that en- 
velop, like a cloud, the mental processes of these largest 
of forest creatures. 

These were the days when he lived apart from the 
herd. He did it from choice. He liked the silence, the 
solitary mud-baths, the constant watchfulness against 
danger. 

One day a rhino charged him — without warning or 
reason. This is quite a common thing for a rhino to 
do. They have the worst tempers in the jungle, and 
they would just as soon charge a mountain if they didn't 
like the look of it. Muztagh had awakened the great 
creature from his sleep, and he came bearing down like 
a tank over " no man's land." 

Muztagh met him squarely, with the full shock of his 
tusks, and the battle ended promptly. Muztagh's tusk, 
driven by five tons of might behind it, would have pierced 
a ship's side, and the rhino limped away to let his hurt 
grow well and meditate revenge. Thereafter, for a full 
year, he looked carefully out of his bleary, drunken eyes 
and chose a smaller objective before he charged. 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 91 

Month after month Muztagh wended alone through 
the elephant trails, and now and then rooted up great 
trees just to try his strength. Sometimes he went silently, 
and sometimes like an avalanche. He swam alone in the 
deep holes, and sometimes shut his eyes and stood on 
the bottom, just keeping the end of his trunk out of 
the water. One day he was obliged to kneel on the 
broad back of an alligator who tried to bite off his foot. 
He drove the long body down into the muddy bottom, 
and no living creature, except possibly the catfish that 
burrow in the mud, ever saw it again. 

He loved the rains that flashed through the jungles, 
the swift-climbing dawns in the east, the strange, tense, 
breathless nights. And at midnight he loved to trumpet 
to the herd on some far-away hill, and hear, fainter than 
the death-cry of a beetle, its answer come back to him. 
At twenty-five he had reached full maturity; and no 
more magnificent specimen of the elephant could be 
found in all of British India. At last he had begun to 
learn his strength. 

Of course he had known for years his mastery over 
the inanimate things of the world. He knew how easy 
it was to tear a tree from its roots, to jerk a great tree- 
limb from its socket. He knew that under most con- 
ditions he had nothing to fear from the great tigers, 
although a fight with a tiger is a painful thing and well 
to avoid. But he did not know that he had developed 
a craft and skill that would avail him in battle against 
the greatest of his own kind. He made the discovery 
one sunlit day beside the Manipur River. 

He was in the mud-bath, grunting and bubbling with 
content. It was a bath with just room enough for one. 
And seeing that he was young, and perhaps failing to 
measure his size, obscured as it was in the mud, a great 
" rogue " bull came out of the jungles to take the bath 
for himself. 

He was a huge creature — wrinkled and yellow-tusked 
and scarred from the wounds of a thousand fights. His 
little red eyes looked out malignantly, and he grunted 
all the insults the elephant tongue can compass to the 
youngster that lolled in the bath. He confidently ex- 



92 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

pected that Muztagh would yield at once, because as a 
rule young twenty-five-year-olds do not care to mix in 
battle with the scarred and crafty veterans of sixty years. 
But he did not know Muztagh. 

The latter had been enjoying the bath to the limit, 
and he had no desire whatever to give it up. Something 
hot and raging seemed to explode in his brain and it 
was as if a red glare, such as sometimes comes in the 
sunset, had fallen over all the stretch of river and 
jungle before his eyes. He squealed once, reared up 
with one lunge out of the bath — and charged. They met 
with a shock. 

Of all the expressions of power in the animal world, 
the elephant fight is the most terrible to see. It is as 
if two mountains rose up from their roots of strata and 
went to war. It is terrible to hear, too. The jungle 
had been still before. The river glided softly, the wind 
was dead, the mid-afternoon silence was over the thickets. 
The jungle people were asleep. A thunder-storm 
would not have broken more quickly, or could not have 
created a wilder pandemonium. The jungle seemed to 
shiver with the sound. 

They squealed and bellowed and trumpeted and grunted 
and charged. Their tusks clicked like the noise of a 
giant's game of billiards. The thickets cracked and 
broke beneath their great feet. 

It lasted only a moment. It was so easy, after all. 
In a very few seconds indeed, the old rogue became 
aware that he had made a very dangerous and dis- 
agreeable mistake. There were better mud-baths on 
the river, anyway. 

He had not been able to land a single blow. And 
his wrath gave way to startled amazement when Muz- 
tagh sent home his third. The rogue did not wait for 
the fourth. 

Muztagh chased him into the thickets. But he was 
too proud to chase a beaten elephant for long. He halted, 
trumpeting, and swung back to his mud-bath. 

But he did not enter the mud again. All at once he 
remembered the herd and the fights of his calfhood. All 
at once he knew that his craft and strength and power 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 93 

were beyond that of any elephant in all the jungle. 
Who was the great, arrogant herd-leader to stand against 
him? What yellow tusks were to meet his and come 
away unbroken? 

His little eyes grew ever more red as he stood rock- 
ing back and forth, his trunk lifted to catch the sounds 
and smells of the distant jungle. Why should he abide 
alone, when he could be the ruler of the herd and the 
jungle king? Then he grunted softly and started away 
down the river. Far away, beyond the mountains and 
rivers and the villages of the hillfolk, the herd of his 
youth roamed in joyous freedom. He would find them 
and assert his mastery. 

V 

The night fire of a little band of elephant-catchers 
burned fitfully at the edge of the jungle. They were 
silent men — for they had lived long on the elephant 
trails — and curiously scarred and sombre. They smoked 
their cheroots, and waited for Ahmad Din to speak. 

" You have all heard ? " he asked at last. 

All but one of them nodded. Of course this did not 
count the most despised one of them all — old Langur 
Dass — who sat at the very edge of the shadow. His 
long hair was grey, and his youth had gone where the 
sun goes at evening. They scarcely addressed a word 
to him, or he to them. True, he knew the elephants, 
but was he not possessed of evil spirits? He was always 
without rupees, too, a creature of the wild that could 
not seem to understand the gathering of money. As a 
man, according to the standards of men, he was an 
abject failure. 

" Khusru has failed to catch White-Skin, but he has 
lived to tell many lies about it. He comes to-nieht M 

It was noticeable that Langur Dass, at the edge of the 
circle, pricked up his ears. 

" Do you mean the white elephant of which the Mani- 
pur people tell so many lies?" he asked. "Do you, 
skilled catchers that you are, believe that such an ele- 
phant is still wild in the jungle?" 



94 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Ahmad Din scowled. " The Manipur people tell of 
him, but for once they tell the truth," was the reply. 
" He is the greatest elephant, the richest prize, in all 
of Burma. Too many people have seen him to doubt. 
I add my word to theirs, thou son of immorality ! " 

Ahmad Din hesitated a moment before he continued. 
Perhaps it was a mistake to tell of the great, light- 
coloured elephant until this man should have gone away. 
But what harm could this wanderer do them? All men 
knew that the jungle had maddened him. 

Langur Dass's face lit suddenly. " Then it could be 
none but Muztagh, escaped from Dugan Sahib fifteen 
years ago. That calf was also white. He was also over- 
grown for his years." 

One of the trackers suddenly gasped. " Then that 
is why he spared Khusru ! " he cried. " He remembered 
men." 

The others nodded gravely. " They never forget," 
said Langur Dass. 

" You will be silent while I speak," Ahm^ad Din 
went on. Langur grew silent as commanded, but his 
thoughts were flowing backward twenty years, to days 
at the elephant lines in distant hills. Muztagh was the 
one living creature that in all his days had loved Langur 
Dass. The man shut his eyes, and his limbs seemed 
to relax as if he had lost all interest in the talk. The 
evil one took hold of him at such times, the people 
said, letting understanding follow his thoughts back 
into the purple hills and the far-off spaces of the jungle. 
But to-night he was only pretending. He meant to 
hear every word of the talk before he left the circle. 

" He tells a mad story, as you know, of the elephant 
sparing him when he was beneath his feet," Ahmad Din 
went on ; " that part of his story does not matter to us. 
Hail He might have been frightened enough to say 
that the sun set at noon. But what matters to us more 
is that he knows where the herd is — but a day's journey 
beyond the river. And there is no time to be lost." 

His fellows nodded in agreement. 

" So to-morrow we will break camp. There can be 
no mistake this time. There must be no points over- 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 95 

looked. The chase will cost much, but it will return 
a hundredfold. Khusru says that at last the white one 
has started back toward his herd, so that all can be taken 
in the same keddah. And the white sahib that holds the 
license is not to know that White-Coat is in the herd 
at all." 

The circle nodded again, and contracted toward the 
speaker. 

" We will hire beaters and drivers, the best that can 
be found. To-morrow we will take the elephants and 

go." 

Langur Dass pretended to waken. " I have gone 
hungry many days," he said. " If the drive is on, perhaps 
you will give your servant a place among the beaters." 

The circle turned and stared at him. It was one of 
the stories of Langur Dass that he never partook in 
the elephant hunts. Evidently poor living had broken 
his resolutions. 

" You shall have your wish, if you know how to keep 
a closed mouth," Ahmad Din replied. " There are other 
hunting parties in the hills." 

Langur nodded. He was very adept indeed at keeping 
a closed mouth. It is one of the first lessons of the 
jungle. 

For another long hour they sat and perfected their 
plans. Then they lay down by the fire together, and 
sleep dropped over them one by one. At last Langur 
sat by the fire alone. 

" You will watch the flame to-night," Ahmad Din 
ordered. " We did not feed you to-night for pity on 
your grey hairs. And remember — a gipsy died in a 
tiger's claws on this very slope — not six months past." 

Langur Dass was left alone with his thoughts. Soon 
he got up and stole out into the velvet darkness. The 
mists were over the hills as always. 

" Have I followed the tales of your greatness all these 
years for this?" he muttered. "It is right for pigs 
with the hearts of pigs to break their backs in labour. 
But you, my Muztagh ! Jewel anion;; elephants! King 
of the jungle! Thou art of the true breed! Moreover 
I am minded that thy heart and mine are one ! 



96 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" Thou art born ten thousand years after thy time, 
Muztagh," he went on. " Thou art of the breed of 
masters, not of slaves ! We are of the same womb, 
thou and I. Can I not understand? These are not my 
people — these brown men about the fire. I have not thy 
strength, Muztagh, or I would be out there with thee ! 
Yet is not the saying that brother shall serve brother?" 

He turned slowly back to the circle of the firelight. 
Then his brown, scrawny fingers clenched. 

" Am I to desert my brother in his hour of need ? 
Am I to see these brown pigs put chains around him, 
in the moment of his power? A king, falling to the place 
of a slave ? Muztagh, we will see what can be done ! 
Muztagh, my king, my pearl, my pink baby, for whom 
I dug grass in the long ago ! Thy Langur Dass is old, 
and his whole strength is not that of thy trunk, and men 
look at him as a worm in the grass. But hall perhaps 
thou wilt find him an ally not to be despised ! " 

VI 

The night had just fallen, moist and heavy over the 
jungle, when Muztagh caught up with his herd. He 
found them in an open grassy glade, encircled by hills, 
and they were all waiting, silent, as he sped down the 
hills toward them. They had heard him coming a long 
way. He was not attempting silence. The jungle people 
had not got out of his way. 

The old bull that led the herd, seventy years of age 
and at the pride of his wisdom and strength, scarred, 
yellow-tusked and noble past any elephant patriarch in 
the jungle, curled up his trunk when he saw him come. 
He knew very well what would happen. And because 
no one knows better than the jungle people what a good 
thing it is to take the offensive in all battles, and because 
it was fitting his place and dignity, he uttered the chal- 
lenge himself. 

The silence dropped as something from the sky. The 
little pink calves who had never seen the herd grow 
still in this same way before, felt the dawn of the storm 
that they could not understand, and took shelter beneath 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 97 

their mothers' bellies. But they did not squeal. The 
silence was too deep for them to dare to break. 

It is always an epoch in the life of the herd when a 
young bull contests for leadership. It is a much more 
serious thing than in the herds of deer and buffalo. The 
latter only live a handful of years, then grow weak and 
die. A great bull who has attained strength and wisdom 
enough to obtain the leadership of an elephant herd may 
often keep it for forty years. Kings do not rise and 
fall half so often as in the kingdoms of Europe. For, 
as most men know, an elephant is not really old until 
he has seen a hundred summers come and go. Then 
he will linger fifty years more, wise and grey and wrinkled 
and strange and full of memories of a time no man cat? 
possibly remember. 

Long years had passed since the leader's place had 
been questioned. The aristocracy of strength is drawn 
on quite inflexible lines. It would have been simply 
absurd for an elephant of the Dwasila or Mierga grades 
to covet the leadership. They had grown old without 
making the attempt. Only the great Kumiria, the grand 
dukes in the aristocracy, had ever made the trial at all. 
And besides, the bull was a better fighter after thirty 
years of leadership than on the day he had gained the 
honour. 

The herd stood like heroic figures in stone for a long 
moment — until Muztagh had replied to the challenge. He 
was so surprised that he couldn't make any sound at all 
at first. He had expected to do the challenging himself. 
The fact that the leader had done it shook his self-con- 
fidence to some slight degree. Evidently the old leader 
still felt able to handle any young and arrogant bulls 
that desired his place. 

Then the herd began to shift. The cows drew back 
with their calves, the bulls surged forward, and slowly 
they made a hollow ring, not greatly different from the 
pugilistic ring known to fight-fans. The calves began 
to squeal, but their mothers silenced them. Very slowly 
and grandly, with infinite dignity, Muztagh stamped into 
the circle. His tusks gleamed. His eves glowed red. 
And those appraising old bulls in the ring knew that such 



98 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

an elephant had not been born since the time of their 
grandfathers. 

They looked him over from tail to trunk. They 
marked the symmetrical form, the legs like mighty pillars, 
the sloping back, the wide-apart, intelligent eyes. His 
shoulders were an expression of latent might — power to 
break a tree-trunk at its base ; by the conformity of his 
muscles he was agile and quick as a tiger. And knowing 
these things, and recognizing them, and honouring them, 
devotees of strength that they were, they threw their 
trunks in the air till they touched their foreheads and 
blared their full-voiced salute. 

They gave it the same instant — as musicians strike 
the same note at their leader's signal. It was a perfect 
explosion of sound, a terrible blare, that crashed out 
through the jungles and wakened every sleeping thing. 
The dew fell from the trees. A great tawny tiger, lin- 
gering in hope of an elephant calf, slipped silently away. 
The sound rang true and loud to the surrounding hills 
and echoed and re-echoed softer and softer, until it was 
just a tiny tremour in the air. 

Not only the jungle folk marvelled at the sound. At 
an encampment three miles distant Ahmad Din and his 
men heard the wild call, and looked with wondering eyes 
upon each other. Then out of the silence spoke Langur 
Dass. 

" My lord Muztagh has come back to his herd — that is 
his salute," he said. 

Ahmad Din looked darkly about the circle. " And how 
long shall he stay ? " he asked. 

The trap was almost ready. The hour to strike had 
almost come. 

Meanwhile the grand old leader stamped into the circle, 
seeming unconscious of the eyes upon him, battle-scarred 
and old. Even if this fight were his last, he meant to 
preserve his dignity. 

Again the salute sounded — shattering out like a thun- 
derclap over the jungle. Then challenger and challenged 
closed. 

At first the watchers were silent. Then as the battle 
grew ever fiercer and more terrible, they began to grunt 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 99 

and squeal, surging back and forth, stamping the earth 
and crashing the underbrush. All the jungle-folk for 
miles about knew what was occurring. And Ahmad Din 
wished his keddah were completed, for never could there 
be a better opportunity to surround the herd than at 
the present moment, when they had forgotten all 
things except the battling monsters in the centre of the 
ring. 

The two bulls were quite evenly matched. The patri- 
arch knew more of fighting, had learned more wiles, but 
he had neither the strength nor the agility of Muztagh. 
The late twilight deepened into the intense dark, and the 
stars of midnight rose above the eastern hills. 

All at once, Muztagh went to his knees. But as might 
a tiger, he sprang aside in time to avoid a terrible tusk 
blow to his shoulder. And his counter-blow, a lashing 
cut with the head, shattered the great leader to the earth. 
The elephants bounded forward, but the old leader had 
a trick left in his trunk. As Muztagh bore down upon 
him he reared up beneath, and almost turned the tables. 
Only the youngster's superior strength saved him from 
immediate defeat. 

But as the night drew to morning, the bulls began to 
see that the tide of the battle had turned. Youth was 
conquering — too mighty and agile to resist. The rushes 
of the patriarch were ever weaker. He still could inflict 
punishment, and the hides of both of them were terrible 
to see, but he was no longer able to take advantage of 
his openings. Then Muztagh did a thing that reassured 
the old bulls as to his craft and wisdom. Just as a 
pugilist will invite a blow to draw his opponent within 
range, Muztagh pretended to leave his great shoulder 
exposed. The old bull failed to see the plot. He bore 
down, and Muztagh was ready with flashing tusk. 

What happened thereafter occurred loo quickly for 
the eyes of the elephants to follow. They saw the great 
bull go down and Muztagh stand lunging above him. 
And the battle was over. 

The great leader, seriously hurt, backed away into the 
shadowed jungle. II is trunk was lowered in token of 
defeat. Then the ring was empty except for a great red- 



ioo PRIZE STORIES 1919 

eyed elephant, whose hide was no longer white, standing 
blaring his triumph to the stars. 

Three times the elephant salute crashed out into the 
jungle silence — the full- voiced salaam to a new king. 
Muztagh had come into his birthright. 

VII 

The keddah was built at last. It was a strong stockade, 
opening with great wings spreading out one hundred 
yards, and equipped with the great gate that lowered 
like a portcullis at the funnel end of the wings. The 
herd had been surrounded by the drivers and beaters, 
and slowly they had been driven, for long days, toward 
the keddah mouth. They had guns loaded with blank 
cartridges, and firebrands ready to light. At a given 
signal they would close down quickly about the herd, 
and stampede it into the yawning mouth of the stockade. 

No detail had been overlooked. No expense had been 
spared. The profit was assured in advance, not only 
from the matchless Muztagh, but from the herd as well. 
The king of the jungle, free now as the winds or the 
waters, was about to go back to his chains. These had 
been such days ! He had led the herd through the hills, 
and had known the rapture of living as never before. 
It had been his work to clear the trail of all dangers for 
the herd. It was his pride to find them the coolest water- 
ing-places, the greenest hills. One night a tiger had tried 
to kill a calf that had wandered from its mother's side. 
Muztagh lifted his trunk high and charged down with 
great, driving strides — four tons and over of majestic 
wrath. The tiger leaped to meet him, but the elephant 
was ready. He had met tigers before. He avoided the 
terrible stroke of outstretched claws, and his tusks lashed 
to one side as the tiger was in midspring. Then he 
lunged out, and the great knees descended slowly, as a 
hydraulic press descends on yellow apples. And soon 
after that the kites were dropping out of the sky for a 
feast. 

His word was law in the herd. And slowly he began 
to overcome the doubt that the great bulls had of him 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 101 

— doubt of his youth and experience. If he had had 
three months more of leadership, their trust would have 
been absolute. But in the meantime, the slow herding 
toward the keddah had begun. 

" We will need brave men to stand at the end of the 
wings of the keddah," said Ahmad Din. He spoke no 
less than truth. The man who stands at the end of the 
wings, or wide-stretching gates, of the keddah is of 
course in the greatest danger of being charged and killed. 
The herd, mad with fright, is only slightly less afraid 
of the spreading wings of the stockade than of the yell- 
ing, whooping beaters behind. Often they will try to 
break through the circle rather than enter the wings. 

" For two rupees additional I will hold one of the 
wings," replied old Langur Dass. Ahmad Din glanced 
at him — at his hard, bright eyes and determined face. 
Then he peered hard, and tried in vain to read the 
thoughts behind the eyes. " You are a madman, Langur 
Dass," he said wonderingly. " But thou shalt lie behind 
the right-wing men to pass them torches. I have spoken." 

" And the two extra rupees ? " Langur asked cun- 
ningly. 

" Maybe." One does not throw away rupees in Upper 
Burma. 

Within the hour the signal of "Mail, mail!" (Go on, 
go on!) was given, and the final laps of the drive began. 

The hills grew full of sound. The beaters sprang up 
with firebrand and rifle, and closed swiftly about the 
herd. The animals moved slowly at first. The time was 
not quite ripe to throw them into a panic. Many times 
the herd would leave their trail and start to dip into a 
valley or a creek-bed, but always there was a new crowd 
of beaters to block their path. But presently the heaters 
closed in on them. Then the animals began a wild descent 
squarely toward the mouth of the keddah. 

"Hal!" the wild men cried. "Oh, you forest pigsl 
On, on! Block the way through that valley, you brain- 
less sons of jackals ! Are you afraid ? Ait Stand close ! 
Watch, Puranl Guard your post, Khusrui Now on, 
on — do not let them halt! Arret Aihui!" 

Firebrands waved, rifles cracked, the wild shout of 



102 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

beaters increased in volume. The men closed in, driving 
the beasts before them. 

But there was one man that did not raise his voice. 
Through all the turmoil and pandemonium he crouched 
at the end of the stockade wing, tense and silent and 
alone. To one that could have looked into his eyes, it 
would have seemed that his thoughts were far and far 
away. It was just old Langur Dass, named for a 
monkey and despised of men. 

He was waiting for the instant that the herd would 
come thundering down the hill, in order to pass lighted 
firebrands to the bold men who held that corner. He 
was not certain that he could do the thing he had set 
out to do. Perhaps the herd would sweep past him, 
through the gates. If he did win, he would have to face 
alone the screaming, infuriated hillmen, whose knives 
were always ready to draw. But knives did not matter 
now. Langur Dass had only his own faith and his own 
creed, and no fear could make him betray them. 

Muztagh had lost control of his herd. At their head 
ran the old leader that he had worsted. In their hour 
of fear they had turned back to him. What did this 
youngster know of elephant-drives? Ever the waving 
firebrands drew nearer, the beaters lessened their circle, 
the avenues of escape became more narrow. The yawn- 
ing arms of the stockade stretched just beyond. 

" Will I win, jungle gods?" a little grey man at the 
keddah wing was whispering to the forests. " Will I 
save you, great one that I knew in babyhood? Will you 
go down into chains before the night is done? Ail I 
hear the thunder of your feet ! The moment is almost 
here. And now — your last chance, Muztagh ! " 

" Close down, close down ! " Ahmad Din was shouting 
to his beaters. " The thing is done in another moment. 
Hasten, pigs of the hills ! Raise your voice ! Now ! 
Aihai!" 

The herd was at the very wings of the stockade. They 
had halted an instant, milling, and the beaters increased 
their shouts. Only one of all the herd seemed to know 
the danger — Muztagh himself, and he had dropped from 
the front rank to the very rear. He stood with uplifted 



THE ELEPHANT REMEMBERS 103 

trunk, facing the approaching rows of beaters. And 
there seemed to be no break in the whole line. 

The herd started to move on, into the wings of cap- 
tivity ; and they did not heed his warning squeals to turn. 
The circle of fire drew nearer. Then his trunk seemed 
to droop, and he turned, too. He could not break the 
line. He turned, too, toward the mouth of the keddah. 

But even as he turned, a brown figure darted toward 
him from the end of the wing. A voice known long 
ago was calling to him — a voice that penetrated high 
and clear above the babble of the beaters. " Muztagh ! " 
it was crying. " Muztagh J " 

But it was not the words that turned Muztagh. An 
elephant cannot understand words, except a few ele- 
mental sounds such as a horse or dog can learn. Rather 
it was the smell of the man, remembered from long ago, 
and the sound of his voice, never quite forgotten. For 
an elephant never forgets. 

" Muztagh ! Muztagh ! " 

The elephant knew him now. He remembered his one 
friend among all the human beings that he knew in his 
calf hood; the one mortal from whom he had received 
love and given love in exchange. 

" More firebrands ! " yelled the men who held that 
corner of the wing. " Firebrands ! Where is Langur 
Dass ? " but instead of firebrands that would have fright- 
ened beast and aided men, Langur Dass stepped out from 
behind a tree and beat at the heads of the right-wing 
guards with a bamboo cane that whistled and whacked 
and scattered them into panic — yelling all the while — 
" Muztagh ! O my Muztagh ! Here is an opening ! 
Muztagh, come ! " 

And Muztagh did come — trumpeting — crashing like an 
avalanche, with Langur Dass hard after him, afraid, 
now that he had done the trick. And hot on the trail 
of Langur Dass ran Ahmad Din, with his knife drawn, 
not meaning to let that prize be lost to him at less than 
the cost of the trickster's life. 

But it was not written that the knife should ever enter 
the flesh of Langur Dass. 

The elephant never forgets, and Muztagh was mon- 



104 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

arch of his breed. He turned back two paces, and struck 
with his trunk. Ahmad Din was knocked aside as the 
wind whips a straw. 

For an instant elephant and man stood front to front. 
To the left of them the gates of the stockade dropped 
shut behind the herd. The elephant stood with trunk 
slightly lifted, for the moment motionless. The long- 
haired man who had saved him stood lifting upstretched 
arms. 

It was such a scene as one might remember in an old 
legend, wherein beasts and men were brothers, or such 
as sometimes might steal, like something remembered 
from another age, into a man's dreams. Nowhere but 
in India, where men have a little knowledge of the 
mystery of the elephant, could it have taken place at all. 

For Langur Dass was speaking to my lord the elephant : 

" Take me with thee, Muztagh ! Monarch of the hills ! 
Thou and I are not of the world of men, but of the 
jungle and the rain, the silence, and the cold touch of 
rivers. We are brothers, Muztagh. O beloved, wilt thou 
leave me here to die ! " 

The elephant slowly turned his head and looked scorn- 
fully at the group of beaters bearing down on Langur 
Dass, murder shining no less from their knives than 
from their lighted eyes. 

" Take me," the old man pleaded ; " thy herd is gone." 

The elephant seemed to know what he was asking. 
He had lifted him to his great shoulders many times, 
in the last days of his captivity. And besides, his old 
love for Langur Dass had never been forgotten. It all 
returned, full and strong as ever. For an elephant never 
can forget. 

It was not one of the man-herd that stood pleading 
before him. It was one of his own jungle people, just 
as, deep in his heart, he had always known. So with 
one motion light as air, he swung him gently to his 
shoulder. 

The jungle, vast and mysterious and still, closed its 
gates behind them. 



TURKEY RED 

By FRANCES GILCHRIST WOOD 

From Pictorial Review 

THE old mail-sled running between Haney and Le 
Beau, in the days when Dakota was still a Territory, 
was nearing the end of its hundred-mile route. 

It was a desolate country in those days ; geographers 
still described it as The Great American Desert, and in 
looks it deserved the title. Never was there anything so 
lonesome as that endless stretch of snow reaching across 
the world until it cut into a cold grey sky, excepting the 
same desert burned to a brown tinder by the hot wind of 
summer. 

Nothing but sky and plain and its voice, the wind, un- 
less you might count a lonely sod shack blocked against 
the horizon, miles away from a neighbour, miles from 
anywhere, its red-curtained square of window glowing 
through the early twilight. 

There were three men in the sled; Dan, the mail- 
carrier, crusty, belligerently Western, the self-elected 
guardian of every one on his route; Hillas, a younger 
man, hardly more than a boy, living on his pre-emption 
claim near the upper reaches of the stage line ; the third 
a stranger from that part of the country vaguely defined 
as " the East." He was travelling, had given him name 
as Smith, and was as inquisitive about the country as 
he was reticent about his business there. Dan plainly 
disapproved of him. 

They had driven the last cold miles in silence when 
the stage-driver turned to his neighbour. " Letter didn't 
say anything about coming out in the spring to look over 
the country, did it ? " 

105 



106 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Hillas shook his head. " It was like all the rest, Dan. 
Don't want to build a railroad at all until the country's 
settled." 

" God! Can't they see the other side of it? What it 
means to the folks already here to wait for it? " 

The stranger thrust a suddenly interested profile above 
the handsome collar of his fur coat. He looked out over 
the waste of snow. 

" You say there's no timber here ? " 

Dan maintained unfriendly silence and Hillas an- 
swered : " Nothing but scrub on the banks of the creeks. 
Years of prairie fires have burned out the trees, we 
think." 

" Any ores — mines ? " 

The boy shook his head as he slid farther down in his 
worn buffalo coat of the plains. 

" We're too busy rustling for something to eat first. 
And you can't develop mines without tools." 

"Tools?" 

" Yes, a railroad first of all." 

Dan shifted the lines from one fur-mittened hand to 
the other, swinging the freed numbed arm in rhythmic 
beating against his body as he looked along the horizon 
a bit anxiously. The stranger shivered visibly. 

" It's a god-forsaken country. Why don't you get 
out?" 

Hillas, following Dan's glance around the blurred sky 
line, answered absently, " Usual answer is ' Leave ? It's 
all I can do to stay here.' " 

Smith regarded him irritably. " Why should any sane 
man ever have chosen this frozen wilderness ? " 

Hillas closed his eyes wearily. " We came in the 
spring." 

" I see ! " The edged voice snapped, " Visionaries ! " 

Hillas's eyes opened again, wide, and then the boy 
was looking beyond the man with the far-seeing eyes 
of the plainsman. He spoke under his breath as if he 
were alone. 

" Visionary, pioneer, American. That was the evolu- 
tion in the beginning. Perhaps that is what we are." 
Suddenly the endurance in his voice went down before 



TURKEY RED 107 

a wave of bitterness. " The first pioneers had to wait, 
too. How could they stand it so long ! " 

The young shoulders drooped as he thrust stiff fingers 
deep within the shapeless coat pockets. He slowly with- 
drew his right hand holding a parcel wrapped in brown 
paper. He tore a three-cornered flap in the cover, looked 
at the brightly coloured contents, replaced the flap and 
returned the parcel, his chin a little higher. 

Dan watched the northern sky-line restlessly. " It 
won't be snow. Look like a blizzard to you, Hillas ? " 

The traveller sat up. "Blizzard?" 

" Yes," Dan drawled in willing contribution to his 
uneasiness, " the real Dakota article where blizzards are 
made. None of your eastern imitations, but a ninety- 
mile wind that whets slivers of ice off the frozen drifts 
all the way down from the North Pole. Only one good 
thing about a blizzard — it's over in a hurry. You get 
to shelter or you freeze to death." 

A gust of wind flung a powder of snow stingingly 
against their faces. The traveller withdrew his head 
turtlewise within the handsome collar in final condemna- 
tion. " No man in his senses would ever have deliber- 
ately come here to live." 

Dan turned. " Wouldn't, eh? " 

"No." 

" You're American ? " 

" Yes." 

"Why?" 

" I was born here. It's my country." 

" Ever read about your Pilgrim Fathers ? " 

" Why, of course." 

" Frontiersmen, same as us. You're living on what 
they did. We're getting this frontier ready for those 
who come after. Want our children to have a better 
chance than we had. Our reason's same as theirs. Hillas 
told you the truth. Country's all right if we had a rail- 
road." 

" Humph !" With a contemptuous look across the des- 
ert. " Where's your freight, your grain, cattle " 

" West-bound freight, coal, feed, seed-grain, work, and 
more neighbours." 



108 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" One-sided bargain. Road that hauls empties one 
way doesn't pay. No company would risk a line through 
here." 

The angles of Dan's jaw showed white. " Maybe. 
Ever get a chance to pay your debt to those Pilgrim 
pioneers? Ever take it? Think the stock was worth 
saving ? " 

He lifted his whip-handle toward a pin-point of light 
across the stretch of snow. " Donovan lives over there 
and Mis' Donovan. We call them ' old folks ' now ; their 
hair has turned white as these drifts in two years. All 
they've got is here. He's a real farmer and a lot of 
help to the country, but they won't last long like this." 

Dan swung his arm toward a glimmer nor' by nor'east. 
" Mis' Clark lives there, a mile back from the stage road. 
Clark's down in Yankton earning money to keep them 
going. She's alone with her baby holding down the 
claim." Dan's arm sagged. " We've had women go 
crazy out here." 

The whip-stock followed the empty horizon half round 
the compass to a lighted red square not more than two 
miles away. " Mis' Carson died in the spring. Carson 
stayed until he was too poor to get away. There's three 
children — oldest's Katy, just eleven." Dan's words 
failed, but his eyes told. " Somebody will brag of them 
as ancestors some day. They'll deserve it if they live 
through this." 

Dan's jaw squared as he leveled his whip-handle 
straight at the traveller. " I've answered your questions, 
now you answer mine ! We know your opinion of the 
country — you're not travelling for pleasure or your 
health. What are you here for ? " 

" Business. My own ! " 

" There's two kinds of business out here this time of 
year. 'Tain't healthy for either of them." Dan's words 
were measured and clipped. " You've damned the West 
and all that's in it good and plenty. Now I say, damn 
the people anywhere in the whole country that won't 
pay their debts from pioneer to pioneer; that lets us 
fight the wilderness barehanded and die fighting; that 
won't risk " 



TURKEY RED 109 

A grey film dropped down over the world, a leaden 
shroud that was not the coming of twilight. Dan jerked 
about, his whip cracked out over the heads of the leaders 
and they broke into a quick trot. The shriek of the 
runners along the frozen snow cut through the ominous 
darkness. 

" Hillas," Dan's voice came sharply, " stand up and 
look for the light on Clark's guide-pole about a mile to 
the right. God help us if it ain't burning." 

Hillas struggled up, one clumsy mitten thatching his 
eyes from the blinding needles. " I don't see it, Dan. 
We can't be more than a mile away. Hadn't you better 
break toward it? " 

" Got to keep the track 'til we — see — light ! " 

The wind tore the words from his mouth as it struck 
them in lashing fury. The leaders had disappeared in a 
wall of snow, but Dan's lash whistled forward in re- 
minding authority. There was a moment's lull. 

"See it, Hillas?" 

" No, Dan." 

Tiger-like the storm leaped again, bandying them about 
in its paws like captive mice. The horses swerved before 
the punishing blows, bunched, backed, tangled. Dan 
stood up shouting his orders of menacing appeal above 
the storm. 

Again a breathing space before the next deadly im- 
pact. As it came Hillas shouted, " I see it — there, Dan ! 
It's a red light. She's in trouble." 

Through the whirling smother and chaos of Dan's cries 
and the struggling horses the sled lunged out of the road 
into unbroken drifts. Again the leaders swung sidewise 
before the lashing of a thousand lariats of ice and 
bunched against the wheel-horses. Dan swore, prayed, 
mastered them with far-reaching lash, then the off leader 
went down. Dan felt behind him for Hillas and shoved 
the reins against his arm. 

" I'll get him up — or cut leaders — loose ! If I don't 
— come back — drive to light. Don't — get — out!" 

Dan disappeared in the white fury. There were sounds 
of a struggle; the sled jerked sharply and stood still. 
Slowly it strained forward. 



no PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Hillas was standing, one foot outside on the runner, 
as they travelled a team's length ahead. He gave a cry 
— " Dan ! Dan ! " and gripped a furry bulk that lumbered 
up out of the drift. 

" All — right — son." Dan reached for the reins. 

Frantically they fought their slow way toward the 
blurred light, staggering on in a fight with the odds too 
savage to last. They stopped abruptly as the winded 
leaders leaned against a wall interposed between them- 
selves and insatiable fury. 

Dan stepped over the dashboard, groped his way along 
the tongue between the wheel-horses and reached the 
leeway of a shadowy square. " It's the shed, Hillas. 
Help get the team in." The exhausted* animals crowded 
into the narrow space without protest. 

" Find the guide-rope to the house, Dan ? " 

" On the other side, toward the shack. Where's — 
Smith?" 

" Here, by the shed." 

Dan turned toward the stranger's voice. 

" We're going 'round to the blizzard-line tied from 
shed to shack. Take hold of it and don't let go. If you 
do you'll freeze before we can find you. When the wind 
comes, turn your back and wait. Go on when it dies 
down and never let go the rope. Ready? The wind's 
dropped. Here, Hillas, next to me." 

Three blurs hugged the sod walls around to the north- 
east corner. The forward shadow reached upward to a 
swaying rope, lifted the hand of the second who guided 
the third. 

" Hang on to my belt, too, Hillas. Ready — Smith ? 
Got the rope ? " 

They crawled forward, three barely visible figures, six, 
eight, ten steps. With a shriek the wind tore at them, 
beat the breath from their bodies, cut them. with sting- 
ing needle-points and threw them aside. Dan reached 
back to make sure of Hillas who fumbled through the 
darkness for the stranger. 

Slowly they struggled ahead, the cold growing more 
intense ; two steps, four, and the mounting fury of the 
blizzard reached its zenith. The blurs swayed like bat- 



TURKEY RED in 

tered leaves on a vine that the wind tore in two at last 
and flung the living beings wide. Dan, clinging to the 
broken rope, rolled over and found Hillas with the frayed 
end of the line in his hand, reaching about through the 
black drifts for the stranger. Dan crept closer, his 
mouth at Hillas's ear, shouting, " Quick ! Right behind 
me if we're to live through it!" 

The next moment Hillas let go the rope. Dan reached 
madly. " Boy, you can't find him — it'll only be two in- 
stead of one ! Hillas ! Hillas ! " 

The storm screamed louder than the plainsman and 
began heaping the snow over three obstructions in its 
path, two that groped slowly and one that lay still. Dan 
fumbled at his belt, unfastened it, slipped the rope 
through the buckle, knotted it and crept its full length 
back toward the boy. A snow-covered something moved 
forward guiding another, one arm groping in blind 
search, reached and touched the man clinging to the 
belt. 

Beaten and buffeted by the ceaseless fury that no 
longer gave quarter, they slowly fought their way hand- 
over-hand along the rope, Dan now crawling last. After 
a frozen eternity they reached the end of the line fast- 
ened man-high against a second haven of wall. Hillas 
pushed open the unlocked door, the three men staggered 
in and fell panting against the side of the room. 

The stage-driver recovered first, pulled off his mittens, 
examined his fingers and felt quickly of nose, ears, and 
chin. He looked sharply at Hillas and nodded. Uncere- 
moniously they stripped off the stranger's gloves, reached 
for a pan, opened the door, dipped it into the drift and 
plunged Smith's fingers down in the snow. 

" Your nose is white, too. Thaw it out." 

Abruptly Dan indicated a bench against the wall where 
the two men seated would take up less space. 

" I'm " The stranger's voice was unsteady. 

" I ," but Dan had turned his back and his attention 

to the homesteader. 

The eight by ten room constituted the entire home. 
A shed roof slanted from eight feel high on the door 
and window side to a bit more than five on the Other. 



H2 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

A bed in one corner took up most of the space, and the 
remaining necessities were bestowed with the compact- 
ness of a ship's cabin. The rough boards of the roof 
and walls had been hidden by a covering of newspapers, 
with a row of illustrations pasted picture height. Cush- 
ions and curtains of turkey-red calico brightened the 
homely shack. 

The driver had slipped off his buffalo coat and was 
bending over a baby exhaustedly righting for breath that 
whistled shrilly through a closing throat. The mother, 
scarcely more than a girl, held her in tensely extended 
arms. 

" How long's she been this way ? " 

" She began to choke up day before yesterday, just 
after you passed on the down trip." 

The driver laid big finger tips on the restless wrist. 

" She always has the croup when she cuts a tooth, 
Dan, but this is different. I've used all the medicines 
I have — nothing relieves the choking." 

The girl lifted heavy eyelids above blue semicircles of 
fatigue and the compelling terror back of her eyes forced 
a question through dry lips. 

" Dan, do you know what membranous croup is like ? 
Is this it?" 

The stage-driver picked up the lamp and held it close 
to the child's face, bringing out with distressing clearness 
the blue-veined pallour, sunken eyes, and effort of im- 
peded breathing. He frowned, putting the lamp back 
quickly. 

" Mebbe it is, Mis' Clark, but don't you be scared. 
We'll help you a spell." 

Dan lifted the red curtain from the cupboard, found 
an emptied lard-pail, half filled it with water and placed 
it on an oil-stove that stood in the center of the room. 
He looked questioningly about the four walls, discovered 
a cleverly contrived tool-box beneath the cupboard 
shelves, sorted out a pair of pincers and bits of iron, lay- 
ing the latter in a row over the oil blaze. He took down 
a can of condensed milk, poured a spoonful of the thick 
stuff into a cup of water and made room for it near the 
bits of heating iron. 



TURKEY RED 113 

He turned to the girl, opened his lips as if to speak 
and stood with a face full of pity. 

Along the four-foot space between the end of the bed 
and the opposite wall the girl walked, crooning to the 
sick child she carried. As they watched, the low song 
died away, her shoulder rubbed heavily against the board- 
ing, her eyelids dropped and she stood sound asleep. The 
next hard-drawn breath of the baby roused her and she 
stumbled on, crooning a lullaby. 

Smith clutched the younger man's shoulder. " God, 
Hillas, look where she's marked the wall rubbing against 
it ! Do you suppose she's been walking that way for three 
days and nights ? Why, she's only a child — no older than 
my own daughter ! " 

Hillas nodded. 

" Where are her people? Where's her husband? " 

" Down in Yankton, Dan told you, working for the 
winter. Got to have the money to live." 

" Where's the doctor ? " 

" Nearest one's in Haney — four days' trip away by 
stage." 

The traveller stared, frowningly. 

Dan was looking about the room again and after prod- 
ding the gay seat in the corner, lifted the cover and 
picked up a folded blanket, shaking out the erstwhile 
padded cushion. He hung the blanket over the back of 
a chair. 

" Mis' Clark, there's nothing but steam will touch 
membreenous croup. We saved my baby that way last 
year. Set here and I'll fix things." 

He put the steaming lard-pail on the floor beside the 
mother and lifted the blanket over the baby's head. She 
put up her hand. 

" She's so little, Dan, and weak. How am I going to 
know if she — if she " 

Dan rearranged the blanket tent. " Jes; get under 
with her yourself, Mis' Clark, then you'll know all that's 
happening." 

With the pincers he picked up a bit of hot iron and 
dropped it hissing into the pail, which he pushed beneath 
the tent. The room was oppressively quiet, walled in 



ii 4 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

by the thick sod from the storm. The blanket muffled 
the sound of the child's breathing and the girl no longer 
stumbled against the wall. 

Dan lifted the corner of the blanket and another bit 
of iron hissed as it struck the water. The older man 
leaned toward the younger. 

" Stove — fire ? " with a gesture of protest against the 
inadequate oil blaze. 

Hillas whispered, " Can't afford it. Coal is $9.00 in 
Haney, $18.00 here." 

They sat with heads thrust forward, listening in the 
intolerable silence. Dan lifted the blanket, hearkened a 
moment, then — " pst ! " another bit of iron fell into the 
pail. Dan stooped to the tool-chest for a reserve supply 
when a strangling cough made him spring to his feet 
and hurriedly lift the blanket. 

The child was beating the air with tiny fists, fighting 
for breath. The mother stood rigid, arms out. 

" Turn her this way ! " Dan shifted the struggling 
child, face out. " Now watch out for the " 

The strangling cough broke and a horrible something 
— " It's the membrane ! She's too weak — let me have 
her!" 

Dan snatched the child and turned it face downward. 
The blue-faced baby fought in a supreme effort — again 
the horrible something — then Dan laid the child, white 
and motionless, in her mother's arms. She held the limp 
body close, her eyes wide with fear. 

"Dan, is — is she ?" 

A faint sobbing breath of relief fluttered the pale lips 
that moved in the merest ghost of a smile. The heavy 
eyelids half-lifted and the child nestled against its 
mother's breast. The girl swayed, shaking with sobs, 
" Baby— baby ! " 

She struggled for self-control and stood up straight 
and pale. " Dan, I ought to tell you. When it began 
to get dark with the storm and time to put up the lan- 
tern, I was afraid to leave the baby. If she strangled 
when I was gone — with no one to help her — she would 
die ! " 

Her lips quivered as she drew the child closer. "I 



TURKEY RED 115 

didn't go right away but — I did — at last. I propped 

her up in bed and ran. If I hadn't " Her eyes 

were wide with the shadowy edge of horror, " if I hadn't 
— you'd have been lost in the blizzard and — my baby 
would have died ! " 

She stood before the men as if for judgment, her 
face wet with unchecked tears. Dan patted her shoulder 
dumbly and touched a fresh, livid bruise that ran from 
the curling hair on her temple down across cheek and 
chin. 

"Did you get this then?" 

She nodded. " The storm threw me against the pole 
when I hoisted the lantern. I thought I'd — never — get 
back ! " 

It was Smith who translated Dan's look of appeal 

for the cup of warm milk and held it to the girl's lips. 

" Drink it, Mis' Clark, you need it." 

She made heroic attempts to swallow, her head 

drooped lower over the cup and fell against the driver's 

rough sleeve. " Poor kid, dead asleep ! " 

Dan guided her stumbling feet toward the bed that 
the traveller sprang to open. She guarded the baby in 
the protecting angle of her arm into safety upon the 
pillow, then fell like a log beside her. Dan slipped off 
the felt boots, lifted her feet to the bed and softly drew 
covers over mother and child. 

" Poor kid, but she's grit, clear through ! " 
Dan walked to the window, looked out at the lessen- 
ing storm, then at the tiny alarm-clock on the cupboard. 
"Be over pretty soon now! " He seated himself by the 
table, dropped his head wearily forward on folded arms 
and was asleep. 

The traveller's face had lost some of its shrewdness. 
It was as if the white frontier had seized and shaken 
him into a new conception of life. He moved restlessly 
along the bench, then stepped softly to the side of the 
bed and straightened the coverlet into greater nicety 
while his lips twitched. 

With consuming care he folded the blanket and re- 
stored the corner seat to its accustomed appearance of 
luxury. He looked about the room, picked Up the j.;rcy 



n6 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

kitten sleeping contentedly on the floor and settled it on 
the red cushion with anxious attention to comfort. 

He examined with curiosity the few books carefully 
covered on a corner shelf, took down an old hand-tooled 
volume and lifted his eyebrows at the ancient coat of 
arms on the book plate. He tiptoed across to the bench 
and pointed to the script beneath the plate. " Edward 
Winslow (7) to his dear daughter, Alice (8)." 

He motioned toward the bed. " Her name ? " 

Hillas nodded, Smith grinned. " Dan's right. Blood 
will tell, even to damning the rest of us." 

He sat down on the bench. " I understand more than 
I did, Hillas, since — you crawled back after me — out 
there. But how can you stand it here? I know you 
and the Clarks are people of education and, oh, all the 
rest; you could make your way anywhere." 

Hillas spoke slowly. " I think you have to live here 
to know. It means something to be a pioneer. You 
can't be one if you've got it in you to be a quitter. The 
country will be all right some day." He reached for 
his greatcoat, bringing out a brown-paper parcel. He 
smiled at it oddly and went on as if talking to himself. 

" When the drought and the hot winds come in the 
summer and burn the buffalo grass to a tinder and the 
monotony of the plains weighs on you as it does now, 
there's a common, low-growing cactus scattered over the 
prairie that blooms into the gayest red flower you ever 
saw. 

" It wouldn't count for much anywhere else, but the 
pluck of it, without rain for months, dew even. It's the 
' colours of courage.' " 

He turned the torn parcel, showing the bright red 
within, and looked at the cupboard and window with 
shining, tired eyes. 

" Up and down the frontier in these shacks, homes, 
you'll find things made of turkey-red calico, cheap, com- 
mon elsewhere " He fingered the three-cornered flap. 

" It's our ' colours.' " He put the parcel back in his 
pocket. " I bought two yards yesterday after — I got a 
letter at Haney." 

Smith sat looking at the gay curtains before him. 



TURKEY RED 117 

The fury of the storm was dying clown into fitful gusts. 
Dan stirred, looked quickly toward the bed, then the 
window, and got up quietly. 

" I'll hitch up. We'll stop at Peterson's and tell her 
to come over." He closed the door noiselessly. 

The traveller was frowning intently. Finally he turned 
toward the boy who sat with his head leaning back 
against the wall, eyes closed. 

" Hillas," his very tones were awkward, " they call 
me a shrewd business man. I am, it's a selfish job and 
I'm not reforming now. But twice to-night you — chil- 
dren have risked your lives, without thought, for a 
stranger. I've been thinking about that railroad. Haven't 
you raised any grain or cattle that could be used for 
freight?" 

The low answer was toneless. " Drought killed the 
crops, prairie fires burned the hay, of course the cattle 
starved." 

" There's no timber, ore, nothing that could be used 
for east-bound shipment?" 

The plainsman looked searchingly into the face of the 
older man. " There's no timber this side the Missouri. 

Across the river it's reservation — Sioux. We " I ! 

frowned and stopped. 

Smith stood up, his hands thrust deep in his pock 
" I admitted I was shrewd, Hillas, but I'm not yellow- 
clear through, not enough to betray this part of the 
frontier anyhow. I had a man along here last fall 
spying for minerals. That's why I'm out here now. I f 
you know the location, and we both think you do, I'll 
put capital in your way to develop the mines and use 
what pull I have to get the road in." 

He looked down at the boy and thrust out a masterful 
jaw. There was a ring of sincerity no one could mis 
take when he spoke again. 

"This country's a desert now, bul I'd back the Sahara 
peopled with your kind. This is on the square, Hillas. 
don't tell me you won't believe I'm — American eno 
to trust ? " 

The boy tried to speak. With stiffened body and 
clenched hands he struggled for self-control. Finally 



n8 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

in a ragged whisper, " If I try to tell you what — it means 
— I can't talk ! Dan and I know of outcropping coal 
over in the Buttes." He nodded in the direction of 
the Missouri, " but we haven't had enough money to 
file mining claims." 

" Know where to dig for samples under this snow ? " 

The boy nodded. " Some in my shack too. I " 

His head went down upon the crossed arms. Smith 
laid an awkward hand on the heaving shoulders, then 
rose and crossed the room to where the girl had stumbled 
in her vigil. Gently he touched the darkened streak 
where her shoulders had rubbed and blurred the news- 
paper print. He looked from the relentless white desert 
outside to the gay bravery within and bent his head. 
" Turkey-red — calico ! " 

There was the sound of jingling harness and the crunch 
of runners. The men bundled into fur coats. 

" Hillas, the draw right by the house here," Smith 
stopped and looked sharply at the plainsman, then went 
on with firm carelessness, " This draw ought to strike a 
low grade that would come out near the river level. Does 
Dan know Clark's address ? " Hillas nodded. 

They tiptoed out and closed the door behind them 
softly. The wind had swept every cloud from the sky 
and the light of the northern stars etched a dazzling 
world. Dan was checking up the leaders as Hillas caught 
him by the shoulder and shook him like a clumsy 
bear. 

" Dan, you blind old mole, can you see the headlight 
of the Overland Freight blazing and thundering down 
that draw over the Great Missouri and Eastern ? " 

Dan stared. 

" I knew you couldn't ! " Hillas thumped him with 
furry fist. " Dan," the wind might easily have drowned 
the unsteady voice, " I've told Mr. Smith about the coal 
— for freight. He's going to help us get capital for 
mining and after that the road." 

" Smith ! Smith ! Well, I'll be — aren't you a claim 
spotter ? " 

He turned abruptly and crunched toward the stage. 
His passengers followed. Dan paused with his foot 



TURKEY RED 119 

on the runner and looked steadily at the traveller from 
under lowered, shaggy brows. 

" You're going to get a road out here ? " 

" I've told Hillas I'll put money in your way to mine 
the coal. Then the railroad will come." 

Dan's voice rasped with tension. " We'll get out the 
coal. Are you going to see that the road is built? " 

Unconsciously the traveller held up his right hand. 
"I am!" 

Dan searched his face sharply. Smith nodded. " I'm 
making my bet on the people — friend ! " 

It was a new Dan who lifted his bronzed face to 
a white world. His voice was low and very gentle. 
" To bring a road here," he swung his whip-handle from 
Donovan's light around to Carson's square, sweeping 

in all that lay behind, " out here to them " The 

pioneer faced the wide desert that reached into a misty 
space ablaze with stars, " would be like — playing God ! " 

The whip thudded softly into the socket and Dan rolled 
up on the driver's seat. Two men climbed in behind 
him. The long lash swung out over the leaders as Dan 
headed the old mail-sled across the drifted right-of-way 
of the Great Missouri and Eastern. 



FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS 
REWARD 

By MELVILLE DAVISSON POST 

From Saturday Evening Post 

WAS before one of those difficult positions unavoid- 
able to a man of letters. My visitor must have some 
answer. He had come back for the manuscript of his 
memoir and for my opinion. It was the twilight of an 
early Washington winter. The lights in the great 
library, softened with delicate shades, had been turned 
on. Outside, Sheridan Circle was almost a thing of 
beauty in its vague outline ; even the squat ridiculous 
bronze horse had a certain dignity in the blue shadow. 

If one had been speculating on the man, from his 
physical aspect one would have taken Walker for an 
engineer of some sort, rather than the head of the 
United States Secret Service. His lean face and his 
angular manner gave that impression. Even now, mo- 
tionless in the big chair beyond the table, he seemed — 
how shall I say it? — mechanical. 

And that was the very defect in his memoir. He had 
cut the great cases into a dry recital. There was no 
longer in them any pressure of a human impulse. The 
glow of inspired detail had been dissected out. Every- 
thing startling and wonderful had been devitalized. 

The memoir was a report. 

The bulky typewritten manuscript lay on the table 
beside the electric lamp, and I stood about uncertain how 
to tell him. 

" Walker," I said, " did nothing wonderful ever hap- 
pen to you in the adventure of these cases? " 

" What precisely do you mean ? " he replied. 

The practical nature of the man tempted me to ex- 
travagance. 

" Well," I said, " for example, were you never kissed 

120 



FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD 121 

in a lonely street by a mysterious woman and the flash 
of your dark lantern reveal a face of startling beauty? " 

" No," he said, as though he were answering a sen- 
sible question, " that never happened to me." 

" Then," I continued, " perhaps you have found a 
prince of the church, pale as alabaster, sitting in his red 
robe, who put together the indicatory evidence of the 
crime that baffled you with such uncanny acumen that 
you stood aghast at his perspicacity? " 

"No," he said; and then his face lighted. " But I'll 
tell you what I did find. I found a drunken hobo at 
Atlantic City who was the best detective I ever saw." 

I sat down and tapped the manuscript with my fingers. 

" It's not here," I said. " Why did you leave it out ? " 

He took a big gold watch out of his pocket and turned 
it about in his hand. The case was covered with an 
inscription. 

" Well," he said, " the boys in the department think 
a good deal of me. I shouldn't like them to know how 
a dirty tramp faked me at Atlantic City. I don't mind 
telling you, but I couldn't print it in a memoir." 

He went directly ahead with the story and I was 
careful not to interrupt him : 

" I was sitting in a rolling chair out there on the 
Boardwalk before the Traymore. I was nearly all in, 
and I had taken a run to Atlantic for a day or two 
of the sea air. The fact is the whole department was 
down and out. You may remember what we were up 
against ; it finally got into the newspapers. 

"The government plates of the Third Liberty Bond 
issue had disappeared. We knew how they had gotten 
out, and we thought we knew the man at the head of 
the thing. It was a Mulehaus job, as we figured it. 

"It was too big a thing for a little crook. With the 
government plates they could print Liberty Bonds ,u I 
as the Treasury would. And they could SOW the world 
with them." 

He paused and moved his gold -rimmed spectacle 
little closer in on his nose. 

"You see these war bonds are scattered all over the 
country. They are held by everybody, It's not what 



122 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

it used to be, a banker's business that we could round 
up. Nobody could round up the holders of these bonds. 

"A big crook like Mulehaus could slip a hundred 
million of them into the country and never raise a ripple." 

He paused and drew his fingers across his bony pro- 
truding chin. 

" I'll say this for Mulehaus : He's the hardest man 
to identify in the whole kingdom of crooks. Scotland 
Yard, the Service de la Surete, everybody, says that. 
I don't mean dime-novel disguises — false whiskers and 
a limp. I mean the ability to be the character he pre- 
tends — the thing that used to make Joe Jefferson Rip 
Van Winkle — and not an actor made up to look like 
it. That's the reason nobody could keep track of Mule- 
haus, especially in South American cities. He was a 
French banker in the Egypt business and a Swiss banker 
in the Argentine." 

He turned back from the digression : 

" And it was a clean job. They had got away with 
the plates. We didn't have a clue. We thought, natu- 
rally, that they'd make for Mexico or some South Amer- 
ican country to start their printing press. And we had 
the ports and the border netted up. Nothing could have 
gone out across the border or through any port. All 
the customs officers were working with us, and every 
agent of the Department of Justice." 

He looked at me steadily across the table. 

" You see the government had to get those plates back 
before the crook started to print, or else take up every 
bond of that issue over the whole country. It was a 
hell of a thing! 

" Of course we had gone right after the record of 
all the big crooks to see whose line this sort of job was. 
And the thing narrowed down to Mulehaus or old 
Vronsky. We soon found out it wasn't Vronsky. He 
was in Joliet. It was Mulehaus. But we couldn't find 
him. 

" We didn't even know that Mulehaus was in America. 
He's a big crook with a genius for selecting men. He 
might be directing the job from Rio or a Mexican port. 
But we were sure it was a Mulehaus job. He sold the 



FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD 123 

French securities in Egypt in '90; and he's the man 
who put the bogus Argentine bonds on our market — 
you'll find the case in the 115th Federal Reporter. 

" Well," he went on, " I was sitting out there in the 
rolling chair, looking at the sun on the sea and thinking 
about the thing, when I noticed this hobo that I've be 
talking about. He was my chair attendant, but I hadn't 
looked at him before. He had moved round from behind 
me and was now leaning against the galvanized-pipe 
railing. 

" He was a big human creature, a little stooped, un- 
shaved and dirty ; his mouth was slack and loose, and 
he had a big mobile nose that seemed to move about 
like a piece of soft rubber. He had hardly any clothing; 
a cap that must have been fished out of an ash barrel. 
no shirt whatever, merely an old ragged coat buttoned 
round him, a pair of canvas breeches and carpet slipp 
tied on to his feet with burlap, and wrapped round his 
ankles to conceal the fact that he wore no socks. 

"As I looked at him he darted out, picked up the 
stump of a cigarette that someone had thrown down, 
rnd came back to the railing to smoke it, his loose mouth 
and his big soft nose moving like- kneaded putty. 

"Altogether th : s tramp was the worst human derelict 
I ever saw. And it occurred to me thai this was tin- 
one place in the whole of America where any sort of 
a creature could get a kind of employment and no 
questions asked. 

"Anything that could move and push a chair could 
get fifteen cents an hour from McDmal. Wise man. 
pOOr man, beggar man, thief, it was .ill one to MeDuval. 
And the creature- could sleep in the -lied behind the 
rolling chairs. 

" I suppose an impulse to offer the man a garment <'t' 

some SOrl moved (] I him. ' You're n« 

naked,' ! said. 

"He crossed one [eg over the Other with the tor 
the Carpet Slipper touching the walk, in the manner ot 

a burlesque actor, took the tte out ot In- mouth 

with a little flourish, and replied to me: 'Sure. G01 
ernor. I ain't dolled up like John I >rei 



124 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" There was a sort of cocky unconcern about the crea- 
ture that gave his miserable state a kind of beggarly 
distinction. He was in among the very dregs of life, 
and he was not depressed about it. 

" ' But if I had a sawbuck,' he continued, ' I could 
bulge your eye. . . . Couldn't point the way to one ? ' 

" He arrested my answer with the little flourish of 
his fingers holding the stump of the cigarette. 

" ' Not work, Governor/ and he made a little duck 
of his head, ' and not murder. . . . Go as far as you 
please between 'em/ 

" The fantastic manner of the derelict was infectious. 

" 'O. K.,' I said. ' Go out and find me a man who is 
a deserter from the German Army, was a tanner in Bale 
and began life as a sailor, and I'll double your money — 
I'll give you a twenty-dollar bill.' 

" The creature whistled softly in two short staccato 
notes. 

" ' Some little order,' he said. And taking a toothpick 
cut of his pocket he stuck it into the stump of the ciga- 
rette which had become too short to hold between his 
fingers. 

" At this moment a boy from the postoffice came to 
me with the daily report from Washington, and I got 
out of the chair, tipped the creature, and went into the 
hotel, stopping to pay McDuyal as I passed. 

" There was nothing new from the department except 
that our organization over the country was in close touch. 
We had offered five thousand dollars reward for the re- 
covery of the plates, and the Postoffice Department was 
now posting the notice all over America in every office. 
The Secretary thought we had better let the public in 
on it and not keep it an underground offer to the service. 

" I had forgotten the hobo, when about five o'clock 
he passed me a little below the Steel Pier. He was in 
a big stride and he had something clutched in his hand. 

" He called to me as he hurried along : ' I got him, 
Governor. . . . See you later ! ' 

" ' See me now,' I said. ' What's the hurry ? ' 

" He flashed his hand open, holding a silver dollar with 
his thumb against the palm. 



FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD 125 

" ' Can't stop now, I'm going to get drunk. See you 
later.' 

" I smiled at the disingenuous creature. He was saving 
me for the dry hour. He could point out Mulehaus in 
any passing chair, and I would give some coin to be rid of 
his pretension." 

Walker paused. Then he went on : 

" I was right. The hobo was waiting for me when 
I came out of the hotel the following morning. 

" ' Howdy, Governor,' he said ; ' I located your man.' 

" I was interested to see how he would frame up his 
case. 

" ' How did you find him?' I said. 

" He grinned, moving his lip and his loose nose. 

" ' Some luck, Governor, and some sleuthin'. It was 
like this : I thought you was stringin' me. But I said to 
myself I'll keep out an eye ; maybe it's on the level — any 
damn thing can happen.' 

" He put up his hand as though to hook his thumb 
into the armhole of his vest, remembered that he had 
only a coat buttoned round him and dropped it. 

" ' And believe me or not, Governor, it's the God's 
truth. About four o'clock up toward the Inlet I passed 
a big, well-dressed, banker-looking gent walking stiff 
from the hip and throwing out his leg. " Come eleven ! n 
I said to myself. " It's the goose-step ! " I had an empty 
roller, and I took a turn over to him. 

"'" Chair, Admiral?" I said. 

" ' He looked at me sort of queer. 

" ' " What makes you think I'm an admiral, my man? " 
he answers. 

" ' " Well," I says, lounging over on one foot reflective 
like, " nobody could be a-viewin' the sea with that lovin', 
ownership look unless he'd bossed her a bit. ... If ['m 
right, Admiral, you takes the chair." 

" ' He laughed, but he got in. " I'm not an admiral," 
he said, "but it is true that I've followed the sea."' 

"The hobo paused, and put up his firsl and second 
fingers spread like a V. 

(< ' Two points, Governor -the genl had been a sailor 
and a soldier; now how about the tanner business?' 



126 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" He scratched his head, moving the ridiculous cap. 

" ' That sort of puzzled me, and I pussyfooted along 
toward the Inlet thinkin' about it. If a man was a 
tanner, and especially a foreign, hand-workin' tanner, 
what would his markin's be? 

" ' I tried to remember everybody that I'd ever seen 
handlin' a hide, and all at once I recollected that the 
first thing a dago shoemaker done when he picked up 
a piece of leather was to smooth it out with his thumbs. 
An' I said to myself, now that'll be what a tanner does, 
only he does it more . . . he's always doin' it. Then 
I asks myself what would be the markin's?' 

" The hobo paused, his mouth open, his head twisted 
to one side. Then he jerked up as under a released 
spring. 

" ■ And right away, Governor, I got the answer to it 
—flat thumbs ! ' 

" The hobo stepped back with an air of victory and 
flashed his hand up. 

" ' And he had 'em ! I asked him what time it was 
so I could keep the hour straight for McDuyal, I 
told him, but the real reason was so I could see his 
hands." 

Walker crossed one leg over the other. 

" It was clever," he said, " and I hesitated to shatter 
it. But the question had to come. 

" ' Where is your man ? ' I said. 

" The hobo executed a little deprecatory step, with 
his fingers picking at his coat pockets. 

:< ' That's the trouble, Governor,' he answered ; 'I in- 
tended to sleuth him for you, but he give me a dollar 
and I got drunk . . . you saw me. That man had got 
out at McDuyal's place not five minutes before. I was 
flashin' to the booze can when you tried to stop me. . . . 
Nothin' doin' when I get the price.' " 

Walker paused. 

" It was a good fairy story and worth something. I 
offered him half a dollar. Then I got a surprise. 

" The creature looked eagerly at the coin in my fingers, 
and he moved toward it. He was crazy for the liquor 
it would buy. But he set his teeth and pulled up. 



FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD 127 

" ' No, Governor,' he said, ' I'm in it for the sawbuck. 
Where'll I find you about noon ? ' 

" I promised to be on the Boardwalk before Heinz's 
Pier at two o'clock, and he turned to shuffle away. I 
called an inquiry after him. . . . You see there were 
two things in his story: How did he get a dollar tip, 
and how did he happen to make his imaginary man 
banker-looking? Mulehaus had been banker-looking in 
both the Egypt and the Argentine affairs. I left the 
latter point suspended, as we say. But I asked about the 
dollar. He came back at once. 

" ' I forgot about that, Governor/ he said. * It was 
like this : The admiral kept looking out at the sea where 
an old freighter was going South. You know, the fruit 
line to New York. One of them goes by every day or 
two. And I kept pushing him along. Finally we got 
up to the Inlet, and I was about to turn when he stopped 
me. You know the neck of ground out beyond where 
the street cars loop ; there's an old board fence by the 
road, then sand to the sea, and about halfway between 
the fence and the water there's a shed with some junk 
in it. You've seen it. They made the old America out 
there and the shed was a tool house. 

" ' When I stopped the admiral says : " Cut across to 
the hole in that old board fence and see if an automobile 
has been there, and I'll give you a dollar." An' I done 
it, an' I got it.' 

" Then he shuffled off. 

" ' Be on the spot, Governor, an' I'll lead him to you.' " 

Walker leaned over, rested his elbows on the arms of 
his chair, and linked his fingers together. 

" That gave me a new flash on the creature. He was 
a slicker article than I imagined. I was not to get off 
with a tip. He was taking some pains to touch me for 
a greenback. I thought I saw his line. It would not 
account for his hitting the description of Mulehaus in 
the make-up of his straw man, but it would furnish the 
data for the dollar story. I had drawn the latter a little 
before he was ready. It belonged in what he planned 
to give me at two o'clock. But I thought I saw what 
the creature was about. And I was right." 



128 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Walker put out his hand and moved the pages of his 
memoir on the table. Then he went on: 

* I was smoking a cigar on a bench at the entrance 
to Heinz's Pier when the hobo shuffled up. He came 
down one of the streets from Pacific Avenue, and the 
direction confirmed me in my theory. It also confirmed 
me in the opinion that I was all kinds of a fool to let 
this dirty hobo get a further chance at me. 

" I was not in a very good humour. Everything I had 
set going after Mulehaus was marking time. The only 
report was progress in linking things up ; not only along 
the Canadian and Mexican borders and the custom 
houses, but we had also done a further unusual thing, 
we had an agent on every ship going out of America 
to follow through to the foreign port and look out for 
anything picked up on the way. 

" It was a plan I had set at immediately the robbery 
was discovered. It would cut out the trick of reshipping 
at sea from some fishing craft or small boat. The re- 
ports were encouraging enough in that respect. We had 
the whole country as tight as a drum. But it was slender 
comfort when the Treasury was raising the devil for the 
plates and we hadn't a clue to them." 

Walker stopped a moment. Then he went on : 

" I felt like kicking the hobo when he got to me, he 
was so obviously the extreme of all worthless creatures, 
with that apologetic, confidential manner which seems 
to be an abominable attendant on human degeneracy. 
One may put up with it for a little while, but it presently 
becomes intolerable. 

" ' Governor,' he began, when he shuffled up, * you 
won't get mad if I say a little somethin' ? ' 

" ' Go on and say it,' I said. 

" The expression on his dirty unshaved face became, 
if possible, more foolish. 

" ' Well, then, Governor, askin' your pardon, you ain't 
Mr. Henry P. Johnson, from Erie ; you're the Chief of 
the United States Secret Service, from Washington.' " 

Walker moved in his chair. 

" That made me ugly," he went on, " the assurance 
of the creature and my unspeakable carelessness in per- 



FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD 129 

mitting the official letters brought to me on the day be- 
fore by the postoffice messenger to be seen. In my 
relaxation I had forgotten the eye of the chair attend- 
ant. I took the cigar out of my teeth and looked at 
him. 

" ' And I'll say a little something myself ! [ I could 
hardly keep my foot clear of him. ' When you got sober 
this morning and remembered who I was, you took a 
turn up round the postoffice to make sure of it, and 
while you were in there you saw the notice of the re- 
ward for the stolen bond plates. That gave you the 
notion with which you pieced out your fairy story about 
how you got the dollar tip. Having discovered my iden- 
tity through a piece of damned carelessness on my part, 
and having seen the postal notice of the reward, you 
undertook to enlarge your little game. That's the reason 
you wouldn't take fifty cents. It was your notion in 
the beginning to make a touch for a tip. And it would 
have worked. But now you can't get a damned cent 
out of me.' Then I threw a little brush into him: ' I'd 
have stood a touch for your rinding the fake tanner, 
because there isn't any such person.' 

" I intended to put the hobo out of business," Walker 
went on, " but the effect of my words on him were even 
more startling than I anticipated. His jaw dropped and 
he looked at me in astonishment. 

" ' No such person ! ' he repeated. ' Why, Governor, 
before God, I found a man like that, an' he was a banker 
— one of the big ones, sure as there's a hell ! ' " 

Walker put out his hands in a puzzled gesture. 

"There it was again, the description of Mulehausl 
And it puzzled me up. Every motion of this hobo's 
mind in every direction about this affair was perfectly 
clear to me. I saw his intention in every turn of it and 
just where he got the material for the details of his 
story. But this absolutely distinguishing description of 
Mulehaus was beyond me. Everybody, of course, knew 
that we were looking for the lost plates, for there was 
the reward offered by the Treasury; hut no human soul 
outside of the trusted agents of the department knew 
that we were looking for Mulehaus." 



130 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Walker did not move, but he stopped in his recital 
for a moment. 

" The tramp shuffled up a step closer to the bench 
where I sat. The anxiety in his big slack face was 
sincere beyond question. 

" ' I can't find the banker man, Governor ; he's skipped 
the coop. But I believe I can find what he's hid.' 

" ' Well,' I said, ' go on and find it.' 

" The hobo jerked out his limp hands in a sort of 
hopeless gesture. 

" ' Now, Governor,' he whimpered, ' what good would 
it do me to find them plates ? ' 

" ' You'd get five thousand dollars,' I said. 

" * I'd git kicked into the discard by the first cop that 
got to me,' he answered, * that's what I'd git.' 

" The creature's dirty, unshaved jowls began to shake, 
and his voice became wholly a whimper. 

" ' I've got a line on this thing, Governor, sure as 
there's a hell. That banker man was viewin' the layout. 
I've thought it all over, an' this is the way it would be. 
They're afraid of the border an' they're afraid of the 
custom houses, so they runs the loot down here in an 
automobile, hides it up about the Inlet, and plans to go 
out with it to one of them fruit steamers passing on 
the way to Tampico. They'd have them plates bundled 
up in a sailor's chest most like. 

" ' Now, Governor, you'd say why ain't they already 
done it ; an' I'd answer, the main guy — this banker man 
— didn't know the automobile had got here until he sent 
me to look, and there ain't been no ship along since 
then. . . . I've been special careful to find that out.' 
And then the creature began to whine. ' Have a heart, 
Governor, come along with me. Gimme a show ! ' 

" It was not the creature's plea that moved me, nor 
his pretended deductions ; I'm a bit old to be soft. It 
was the ' banker man ' sticking like a bur irt the hobo's 
talk. I wanted to keep him in right until I understood 
where he got it. No doubt that seems a slight reason 
for going out to the Inlet with the creature ; but you 
must remember that slight things are often big sign- 
boards in our business." 



FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD 131 

He continued, his voice precise and even: 

" We went directly from the end of the Boardwalk 
to the old shed; it was open, an unfastened door on a 
pair of leather hinges. The shed is small, about twenty 
feet by eleven, with a hard dirt floor packed down by the 
workmen who had used it, a combination of clay and 
sand like the Jersey roads put in to make a floor. All 
round it, from the sea to the board fence, was soft sand. 
There were some pieces of old junk lying about in the 
shed; but nothing of value or it would have been 
nailed up. 

" The hobo led right off with his deductions. There 
was the track of a man, clearly outlined in the soft sand, 
leading from the board fence to the shed and returning, 
and no other track anywhere about. 

" * Now, Governor,' he began, when he had taken a 
look at the tracks, i the man that made them tracks 
carried something into this shed, and he left it here, 
and it was something heavy/ 

" I was fairly certain that the hobo had salted the 
place for me, made the tracks himself ; but I played out 
a line to him. 

" ' How do you know that ? ' I said. 

" ' Well, Governor,' he answered, ' take a look at them 
two line of tracks. In the one comin' to the shed the 
man was walkin' with his feet apart and in the one 
goin' back he was walkin' with his feet in front of one 
another; that's because he was carryin' somethin' heavy 
when he come an' nothin' when he left.' 

" It was an observation on footprints," he went on, 
" that had never occurred to me. The hobo saw my 
awakened interest, and he added : 

" * Did you never notice a man carryin 1 a heavy load? 
He kind of totters, walkin' with his feet apart to keep 
his balance. That makes his foot tracks side by side 
like, instead of one before the other as he makes them 
when he's goin' light.' " 

Walker interrupted his narrative with a comment: 

"It's the truth. I've verified it a thou and times 
since that hobo put me onto it. A line running through 
the center of the heel prints of a man carrying a heavy 



132 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

burden will be a zigzag, while one through the heel 
prints of the same man without the burden will be almost 
straight. 

" The tramp went right on with his deductions : 

" * If it come in and didn't go out, it's here.' 

" And he began to go over the inside of the shed. He 

searched it like a man searching a box for a jewel. He 

moved the pieces of old castings and he literally fingered 

the shed from end to end. He would have found a bird's 

egg- 

" Finally he stopped and stood with hand spread out 

over his mouth. And I selected this critical moment to 

touch the powder off under his game. 

" ' Suppose,' I said, ' that this man with the heavy 
load wished to mislead us ; suppose that instead of bring- 
ing something here he took one of these old castings 
away ? ' 

" The hobo looked at me without changing his posi- 
tion. 

" ' How could he, Governor ; he was pointin' this way 
with the load ? ' 

" ' By walking backward,' I said. For it had occurred 
to me that perhaps the creature had manufactured this 
evidence for the occasion, and I wished to test the 
theory." 

Walker went on in his slow, even voice : 

" The test produced more action than I expected. The 
hobo dived out through the door. I followed to see him 
disappear. But he was not in flight ; he was squatting 
down over the foot prints. And a moment later he 
rocked back on his haunches with a little exultant 
yelp. 

" ' Dope's wrong, Governor,' he said ; ' he was sure 
comin' this way.' Then he explained : ' If a man's walkin* 
forward in sand or mud or snow the toe of his shoe flirts 
out a little of it, an' if he's walkin' backward his heel 
flirts it out.' 

" At this point I began to have some respect for the 
creature's ability. He got up and came back into the 
shed. And there he stood, in his old position, with his 
fingers over his mouth, looking round at the empty shed, 



FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD 133 

in which, as I have said, one could not have concealed 
a bird's egg. 

" I watched him without offering any suggestion, for 
my interest in the thing had awakened and I was curious 
to see what he would do. He stood perfectly motionless 
for about a mniute ; and then suddenly he snapped his 
ringers and the light came into his face. 

" ' I got it, Governor ! ' Then he came over to where 
I stood. ' Gimme a quarter to get a bucket.' 

" I gave him the coin, for I was now profoundly 
puzzled, and he went out. He was gone perhaps twenty 
minutes, and when he came in he had a bucket of water. 
But he had evidently been thinking on the way, for he 
set the bucket down carefully, wiped his hands on his 
canvas breeches, and began to speak, with a little apol- 
ogetic whimper in his voice. 

" ' Now look here, Governor,' he said, ' I'm a-goin' to 
talk turkey ; do I get the five thousand if I find this 
stuff?' 

" ' Surely,' I answered him. 

" ' An' there'll be no monkey'n', Governor ; you'll take 
me down to a bank yourself an' put the money in my 
hand?' 

" ' I promise you that,' I assured him. 

" But he was not entirely quiet in his mind about it. 
He shifted uneasily from one foot to the other, and his 
soft rubber nose worked. 

" ' Now, Governor,' he said, ' I'm leery about jokers — 
I gotta be. I don't waul any string to this money. If 
I get it I want to go and blow it in. I don't want you 
to hand me the roll an' then start any reformin' stunt 
— a-holdin' of it in trust an' a probation officer a-pussy 
footin' me, or any funny business. I want the wad an' 
a clear road to the bright lights, with no word passed 
along to pinch me. Do I git it?' 

"'It's a trade!' 1 said. 

" ' O. K.,' he answered, and he took up the bueket. 

lie began at the door and poured the water carefully 

on the hard tramped earth. When the bueket was 
empty he brought another and another. Finally about 
midway of the floor space he stopped. 



134 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" ' Here it is ! ' he said. 

" I was following beside him, but I saw nothing to 
justify his words. 

" ' Why do you think the plates are buried here ? ' I 
said. 

" * Look at the air bubbles comin' up, Governor,' he 
answered." 

Walker stopped, then he added: 

" It's a thing which I did not know until that mo- 
ment, but it's the truth. If hard-packed earth is dug up 
and repacked air gets into it, and if one pours water 
on the place air bubbles will come up." 

He did not go on, and I flung the big query of his 
story at him. 

" And you found the plates there ? " 

" Yes," he replied, " in the false bottom of an old 
steamer trunk." 

"And the hobo got the money?" 

" Certainly," he answered. " I put it into his hand, 
and let him go with it, as I promised." 

Again he was silent, and I turned toward him in aston- 
ishment. 

" Then," I said, " why did you begin this story by say- 
ing the hobo faked you ? I don't see the fake ; he found 
the plates and he was entitled to the reward." 

Walker put his hand into his pocket, took out a leather 
case, selected a paper from among its contents and 
handed it to me. " I didn't see the fake either," he said, 
" until I got this letter." 

I unfolded the letter carefully. It was neatly written 
in a hand like copper plate and dated from Buenos 
Aires : 

Dear Colonel Walker: When I discovered that you were 
planting an agent on every ship I had to abandon the plates 
and try for the reward. Thank you for the five thousand; 
it covered expenses. Very sincerely yours, 

D. Mulehaus. 



THE BLOOD OF THE DRAGON 

By THOMAS GRANT SPRINGER 
From Live Stories 

KAN WONG, the sampan boatman, sat in the bow 
of his tiny craft, looking with dream-misted eyes 
upon the oily, yellow flood of the Yangtze River. Far 
across on the opposite shore, blurred by the mist that 
the alchemy of the setting sun transmuted from miasmic 
vapour to a veil of gold, rose the purple-shadowed, stone- 
tumbled ruins of Hang Gow, ruins that had been a proud, 
walled city in the days before the Tai-ping Rebellion. 

Viewing its slowly dimming powers as they sank into 
the fading gold of the mist that the coming night thick- 
ened and darkened as it wiped out the light with a damp 
hand, Kan Wong dreamed over the stories that his 
father's father — now revered dust somewhere off toward 
the hills that dimly met the melting sky line — had told 
him of that ruined city, wherein he, Kan Wong, had 
not Fate made men mad, would now be ruling a lordly 
household, even wearing the peacock feather and em- 
broidered jacket that were his by right of the Dragon's 
blood, that blood now hidden under the sun-browned 
skin of a river coolie. Kan Wong stuffed fine-cut into 
his brass-bowled pipe and struck a spark from his tinder 
box. Through his wide nostrils twin streamers of smoke 
writhed out, twisting fantastically together and mixing 
slowly with the rising river mist. His pipe became a 
wand of dreams summoning the genii of glorious mem- 
ory. The blood of the Dragon in his veins quickened 
from the lethargy to which drudgery had COOled it, and 
raced hotly as he thought of the battle past of his fore- 
fathers. 

Oil somewhere along the river's winding length, where 

135 



136 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

it crawled slowly to the sea, lay the great coast cities. 
The lazy ripples, light-tipped, beckoned with luring fin- 
gers. There was naught to stay him. His sampan was 
his home, and movable, therefore the morrow would see 
him turning its bow downstream to seek that strange 
city where, he had heard, dwelt many Foreign Devils 
who now and then scattered wealth with a prodigal hand. 

In that pale hour when the mist, not yet dissipated 
by the rising sun, lay in a cold, silver veil upon the 
night-chilled water, he pushed out from the shore and 
pointed the sampan's prow downstream. Days it took 
him to reach salt water. He loitered for light cargoes 
at village edges, or picked up the price of his daily rice 
at odd tasks ashore, but always, were it day or night 
for travel, his tiny craft bore surely seaward. Mile 
after slow mile dropped behind him, like the praying 
beads of a lama's chain, but at last the river salted 
slightly, and his tiny craft was lifted by the slow swell 
of the sea's hand reaching for inland. 

The river became more populous. The crowding sam- 
pans, houseboats, and junks stretched far out into its 
oily, oozy flow, making a floating city as he neared the 
congested life of the coast, where the ever-increasing 
population failed to find ground space in its maggoty 
swarming. As the stream widened until the farther 
bank disappeared in the artificial mist of rising smoke 
and man-stirred dust, the Foreign Devils' fire junks 
appeared, majestically steaming up and down — swift 
swans that scorned the logy, lumbering native craft, 
the mat sails and toiling sweeps of which made them 
appear motionless by comparison. A day or two of 
this and then the coast, with Shanghai sprawling upon 
the bank, writhing with life, odoriferous, noisy, perpetu- 
ally awake. 

Kang Wong slid into its waterfront turmoil, an in- 
finitesimal human atom added to it. His tiny craft fixed 
itself upon the outer edge of the wriggling river life 
like a coral cell attaching itself to a slow growing atoll. 
From there he worked his way inshore, crawling over the 
craft that stretched out from the low banks as a water 
beetle might move over the flotsam and jetsam caught 



THE BLOOD OF THE DRAGON 137 

in the back-water of a sluggish stream. Once in the 
narrow, crowded streets of the city itself, he roamed 
aimlessly, open-eyed to its wonders, dreamily observant. 
Out of the native quarter and into the foreign section 
he moved, accustoming himself to these masters of mys- 
tery whom he was about to serve, calling sluggish mem- 
ory to his aid as his ears strove to reconstruct the mean- 
ing of the barbarous jargon. 

Into the quarter where the Foreign Devils and the 
native population came together to barter and to trade, 
he strayed one day. A Foreign Devil in a strangely 
unattractive uniform was addressing a crowd of coolies 
in their own tongue. Kan Wong attached himself to 
the outer edge of the impassively curious throng, his 
ears alert, his features, as ever, an imperturbable mask. 
The foreign officer, for such he seemed to be, was 
making an offer to the assemblage for contract labour: 
one dollar a day, with rice, fish, and tea rations, for 
work in a foreign land. Kan Wong translated the 
money quickly into yens. The sum seemed incredible to 
him. What service would he not perform for such pay- 
ment ? Why, within a year, or two at the very most, with 
careful frugality, he might return and buy himself a 
junk worthy of his Dragon dreams of the river. And 
then . . . 

The officer talked on, persuading, holding out the 
glittering lure of profit and adventure. Kan Wong lis- 
tened eagerly. He had thought there was a ban on 
contract labour, but perhaps this new Republican Gov- 
ernment, so friendly to the Foreign Devil, had removed 
it. Surely one who wore the uniform of a soldier and 
an officer could not thus publicly solicit coolies without 
the sanction of the mandarins, or escape their notice. 

Kan Wong studied the crowd. It contained a few 
Chinese soldiers, who were obviously keeping order. 
He was satisfied, and edged his way closer to the speaker. 
There, already, ranged to one side was a line of his 
own kind, jabbering to a Celestial who put down their 
names on slips of rice paper and accepted their marks, 
which they made with a bamboo brush, that they bonded 
themselves to the adventure. Kan Wong gained the 



138 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

signing table. Picking up the brush, he set his name, 
the name of one of the Dragon's blood, to the contract, 
accepted a duplicate, and stepped back into the waiting 
line. 

His pay and his rations, he was told, would begin 
two days hence, when he was to report to the fire junk 
now lying at the dock, awaiting the human cargo of 
which he was a part. Kan Wong memorized the direc- 
tions as he turned away from his instructing countryman. 
Of the Foreign Devil he took no further notice. Time 
enough for that when he passed into service. The God 
of Luck had smiled upon his boldness, and, reflecting 
upon it, Kan Wong turned back to the river and the 
sampan that had so long been his floating home. No 
sentimental memories, however, clung about it for him. 
Its freight of dreams he had landed here in Shanghai, 
marketing them for a realization. The sampan now was 
but the empty shell of a water beetle, that had crawled 
upon the bank into the sun of Fortune to spill forth 
a dragon fly to try newly found wings of adventure. 

He found a customer, and, with much haggling after 
the manner of his kind, disposed of his boat, the last 
tie, if tie there was, that bound him to his present life. 
Waterman he had always been, and now had come to 
him the call of the Father of All Waters. The tang 
of the salt in his nostrils conjured up dreams as magical 
as those invoked by the wand of the poppy god. Wrapped 
in their rosy mantle, he walked the streets for the next 
two days, and on the third he took his way to the 
dock where lay the fire junk that was to bear him forth 
into the wonders of the Foreign Devils' land. Larger 
she loomed than any he had ever seen, larger, oh, much 
larger, than those which had steamed up the Yangtze 
in swanlike majesty. But this huge bulk was grey — 
grey and squat and powerful. Once aboard, he found 
it crowded with an army of chattering coolies. They 
swarmed in the hold like maggots. Every inch of space 
was given over to them, an army, it seemed to Kan 
Wong, in which he was all but lost. 

Day after day across the waste of water the ship 
took its eastern way. Never had Kan Wong dreamed 



THE BLOOD OF THE DRAGON 139 

there was so much water in the world. The hroad, 
long river that had been his life's path seemed but a 
narrow trickle on the earth's face compared with this 
stretch of sea that never ended, though the days ran 
into weeks. The land coolies chafed and found much 
sickness in the swell, but Kan Wong, used ever to a 
moving deck, found the way none too long, and smiled 
softly to himself as he counted up the dollars they were 
paying him for the keenest pleasure he had ever known. 

At last land appeared. The ship swung into the dock, 
disclosing to the questioning eyes of Kan Wong and 
his kind a new strange land. In orderly discipline they 
were marched off the vessel and on to the dock. But 
rest was not theirs as yet, nor was this their final 
destination. From the fire junk they boarded the flying 
iron horse of the Foreign Devils ; again they were on 
the move. Swiftly across the land they went, over high 
mountains crowded with eternal snow, thence down upon 
brown, rolling plains as wide as the flat stretches of 
the broad Yangtze Valley; eastward, ever eastward, 
through a land sparsely peopled for all its virgin fer- 
tility. Behind their flying progress the days dropped — 
one, two, three, four, at last five ; and then they entered 
a more populous region. Kan Wong, his nose flattened 
against the glass that held the moving picture as in a 
frame, wondered much at the magic that unrolled to his 
never-sated eyes. Yet the journey's end was beyond his 
questioning. 

Once more they came to a seaport. Marching from 
the carriages, once more they beheld the sea. But this 
time it was different — more turbulent, harsher, more 
sombre with the hint of waiting storms. Was there, 
then, more than one ocean, Kan Wong asked himself? 
He found that it was indeed so when once more a fire 
junk received them. This one was greyer than the first 
that they had known. Upon her decks were guns and at 
her side were other junks, low, menacing, with a demon 
flurry of vicious speed, and short, squat funnels that 
belched dense smoke clouds. Within the town were 
many Foreign Devils, all dressed alike in strange drab 
uniforms ; on the docks and here and there at other places 



HO PRIZE STORIES 1919 

they bore arms and other unmistakable equipment of 
fighting men, which even Kan Wong could not but notice. 

The grey ship moved out into a cold grey fog. With 
it were other ships as grey and as crowded, ships that 
crawled with men, strange Foreign Devils who clanked 
with weapons as they walked aboard. Again a waste 
of water, through which the ship seemed to crawl with 
a caution that Kan Wong felt, but did not understand. 
With it, on either side, moved those other junks — squat, 
menacing, standing low on the horizon, but as haunting 
as dark ghosts. Where were they bound, this strangely 
mixed fleet? Often Kan Wong pondered this, but gave 
it no tongue to his fellow-passengers, holding a bit aloof 
from them by virtue of his caste. 

Again they neared the shore, where other boats, low- 
built and bristling with guns, flew swiftly out to meet 
them like fierce ocean birds of prey. Now they skirted 
high, bleak cliffs, their feet hid in a lather of white 
foam ; then they rounded the cliffs and passed into a 
storm-struck stretch of sea through which they rolled 
to a more level land, off which they cast anchor. The 
long ocean journey was finished at last. 

There was a frantic bustle at this port, increasing a 
hundredfold when once they set foot upon the land. 
Men — men were everywhere; men in various uniforms, 
men who spoke various tongues in a confusing babel, 
yet they all seemed intent upon one purpose, the import 
of which Kan Wong could but vaguely guess. All about 
them was endless movement, but no confusion, and once 
ashore their work commenced immediately. 

From the fleet of fire junks various cargoes were to 
be unloaded with all speed, and at this the coolies toiled. 
Numberless crates, boxes, and bags came ashore to be 
stowed away in long, low buildings, or loaded into long 
lines of rough, boxlike carriages that then went scurry- 
ing off behind countless snorting and puffing fire-horses 
to the east, always to the east and north. Strange en- 
gines, which the Foreign Devils saw to it that they han- 
dled most tenderly, were also much in evidence, and 
always, at all hours the uniformed men with their bris- 
tling arms and clanking equipment crowded into the car- 



THE BLOOD OF THE DRAGON 141 

riages and were whisked off to the east, always to the 
east and north. They went with much strange shouting 
and, to Kan Wong's ears, discordant sounds that they 
mistook for music. Yet now and then other strings of 
carriages came back from the east and north, with other 
men — men broken, bloody, lacking limbs, groping in 
blindness, their faces twisted with pain as they were 
loaded into the waiting fire-junks to recross the rough 
sea. 

Then came the turn of the coolies to be crowded into 
the boxlike carriages and to be whisked off to the east. 
With them went tools — picks, shovels, and the like — for 
further work, upon the nature of which Kan Wong, un- 
questioning, speculated. It was a slow, broken journey 
that they made. Every now and then they stopped that 
other traffic might pass them, going either way; mostly 
the strange men in uniforms, bristling with guns, hurry- 
ing always to the east and north. 

At last they too turned north, and as they did so 
the country, which had been smiling, low, filled with 
soft fields and pretty, nestling houses, little towns and 
quiet, orderly cities, changed to bleak fields, cut and 
seared as by a simoom's angry breath. Still there were 
little towns — or what had been little towns, now tumbled 
ruins — fire-smitten, gutted, their windows gaping like 
blind eyes in the face of a twisted cripple. Off to the 
east hung angry clouds from which the thunder echoed 
distantly ; a thunder low, grumbling, continual, menacing, 
and through the clouds at night were lightning flashes 
of an angry red. Toward this storm it seemed that 
all the men were hurrying, and so too were the coolies 
of whom Kan Wong was one. Often they chattered 
speculatively of the storm beyond. What did it mean? 
Why did the men hurry toward instead of away from 
it ? Truly the ways of the Foreign Devils were strange ! 

As they drew nearer to the storm, the river dreams 
of Kan Wong returned. This was indeed the land of 
the Dragon's wrath. The torn and harrowed fields, 
the empty, broken towns, the distant, grumbling storm, 
and the armed men, hurrying, always hurrying, toward 
the east and north where the clouds darkened and spread 



142 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

— all this was in the tales that his father's father had 
told him of those fifteen mad years when the Yangtze 
Valley crouched trembling under the fiery breath of the 
Dragon's wrath. Here once more he saw the crumbling 
towers and walls of Hang Gow in fresh ruin. Here 
was the ruthless wreck that even nature in her fiercest 
mood could never make. Truly the lure of the Dragon's 
blood in him was drawing him, magnet-like, to the glory 
of his ancestors. 

The one who had them in charge and spoke their 
tongue gave them their tools and bade them dig narrow 
ditches, head deep. From them they ran tunnels into 
deep caves hollowed out far under the ground. They 
burrowed like moles, cutting galleries here and there, 
reinforcing them with timbers, and lining them with a 
stone which they made out of dust and water. Many 
they cut, stretching far back behind the ever-present 
storm in front of them, while from that storm cloud, 
in swift and unseen lightning bolts that roared and burst 
and destroyed their work often as fast as it was com- 
pleted, fell death among them, who were only labourers, 
not soldiers, as Kan Wong now knew those Foreign 
Devils in the strange and dirty uniforms to be. 

As the storm roared on, never ceasing, it stirred the 
Dragon's blood in Kan Wong's veins. The pick and 
shovel irked his hands as he swung them; his palms 
began to itch for the weapons that the soldiers bore. 
Now and then he came upon a gun where it had dropped 
from its owner's useless hands. He studied its mecha- 
nism, even asking the Foreign Devil overseer how it 
was worked, and, being shown, he remembered and 
practised its use whenever opportunity offered. He took 
to talking with his fellow-workers, some of whom had 
themselves fought with the rebels of New China, who, 
with just such Foreign Devils' tools, had. clipped the 
claws of the Manchu Dragon, freeing the Celestial King- 
dom forever from its crooked grip. He took much in- 
terest in these war implements. He became more inti- 
mate and friendly with his fellows, feeling them now 
to be brothers in a danger that had awakened the soldier 
soul beneath the brown of his coolie skin. 



THE BLOOD OF THE DRAGON 143 

Little could he make of all the strife about him. All 
of which he was sure was that this was the Dragon's 
Field, and he, a Son of the Dragon, had been guided 
to it to fulfil a destiny his forefathers had begun in the 
Yangtze Valley when with the " Hairy Rebels " they 
had waged such war as this. The flying death all about 
him that now and then claimed toll of one of his own 
kind was but a part of it; but all the time he grew to 
hate his humble work and long for a part, a real part, 
in the fighting that raged ahead, where an unseen enemy, 
of whom he grew to think as his own, hurled destruction 
among them. Often he spoke of this to the gang under 
him, imbuing them with the spirit of the Dragon's blood 
that, eager to fulfil its destiny, once more boiled within 
him. 

Then one day the storm grew more furious. The 
thunder was a continual roll, and both from the front 
and rear flew the whining lightning bolts, spewing out 
death and destruction. Many a coolie fell, his dust 
buried under the dust of this fierce foreign land, never 
to be returned and mixed with that of his own Flowery 
Kingdom. Now and then came " stink pots," filling 
the air with such foul vapours that men coughed out 
their lives in the putrid fumes. The breath of the 
Dragon, fresh from his awful mouth, was wrapped about 
them in hot wrath. 

Past them the soldiers streamed, foul with fight, their 
hot guns spitting viciously back into the rolling, pungent 
grey fog that followed them malignantly. Confusion 
reigned, and in that confusion a perfect riot of death. 
On all sides the soldiers fell, blighted by the Dragon's 
breath. The coolies crouched in the heaped-up ruins 
of their newly dug ditches, knowing not which way to 
turn, bereft of leadership since the Foreign Devil who 
commanded them was gone, buried beneath a pile of 
earth where a giant cracker had fallen. 

Suddenly Kan Wong noticed that there were no more 
soldiers save only those who lay writhing or in still, 
twisted heaps upon the harrowed ground. The coolie 
crowd huddled here alone, clutching their futile picks 
and shovels, grovelling in helpless panic. Disaster had 



H4 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

overtaken them. The Dragon was upon them, and they 
were unprotected. All about them in scattered heaps 
lay discarded equipment, guns, even the sharp-barking, 
death-spitting, tiny instrument that the soldiers handled 
so lovingly and so gently when it was not in action. 
But those who manned the weapons had passed on, back 
through the thick curtain of smoke that hung between 
them and the comparative safety of the rear. 

Kan Wong's eyes were ahead, striving to pierce the 
pungent veil that hid the enemy. Suddenly his keen eyes 
noted them — the strange uniforms and stranger faces, 
ducking forward here and there through the hell of 
their own making. The blood of the Dragon within him 
boiled up, now that the enemy was really near enough 
to feel the teeth and claws of the Dragon's whelps. 
This was the hour for which he had lived. This was 
the Tai-ping glory come again for him to share. Reach- 
ing down, he picked up the rifle of a fallen soldier, 
fondled its mechanism lovingly for a moment, and then, 
cuddling it tenderly beneath his chin, his finger bade it 
spit death at the misty grey figures crawling through the 
greyer fog in front. 

When the magazine was exhausted he filled it with 
fresh clips and turned with the authority he had always 
wielded, and a new one that they instantly recognized, 
upon his shivering countrymen. 

" What are ye ? " he yelled with withering scorn. 
" Sons of pigs who root in the dung of this Foreign 
Devil's land, or men of the Dragon's blood? Are ye the 
scum of the Yangtze River or honourable descendants 
of the Hairy Rebels? Would ye avenge your brothers 
who have choked to death in the breath of the stink- 
pots that have been flung among us? Will ye let escape 
this horde of Foreign Devil enemies who have hurled 
at us giant crackers that have spit death, now that they 
are near enough to feel how the Dragon's blood can 
strike ? Here are the Dragon's claws ! " He waved his 
bayoneted gun aloft. " Will ye die like men, or like 
slinking rats stamped into the earth? All who are not 
cowards — come ! " He waved the way through the smoke 
to the grey figures emerging from it. 



THE BLOOD OF THE DRAGON 145 

The Chinaman is no coward when once aroused. 
Death he faces as he faces life, stoically, imperturbably. 
The coolies, reaching for the nearest weapons, followed 
the man who showed the Dragon's blood. Many of 
them understood the use of arms, having borne them 
for New China. Death was upon them, and they went 
to meet it with death in their hands. 

Kan Wong dragged up an uninjured machine gun, 
the crew of which lay about it. Fitting the bands of 
cartridges as he had seen the gunners do, he turned 
the crank and swung it round on its revolving tripod. 
Before its vicious rain he saw the grey figures fall, and 
a great joy welled up in his breast. He signalled for 
other belts and worked the gun faster. Round him the 
coolies rallied; others beyond the sound of his voice 
joined in from pure instinct. The grey figures wavered, 
hesitated, melted back into the smoke, and then strove 
to work around the fire of the death-spitting group. 
But the Dragon's blood was up, the voice of the Dragon's 
son cheered and directed the snarling, roused whelps to 
whom war was an old, old trade, forgotten, and now 
remembered in this strange, wild land. The joy of 
slaughter came savagely upon them. The death that 
they had received they now gave back. In the place 
the white men had fled, the yellow men now stood, de- 
scendants of the Tai-pings, as fierce and wild as their 
once Hairy brothers. 

Meanwhile, behind them the retreating line halted, 
stiffened by hurried reinforcements. The officers rallied 
their men, paused and looked back through the smoke. 
The line had given way and they must meet the on- 
coming wave. Quickly reforming, they picked their 
ground for a stand and waited. The moments passed, 
but no sign of the victors. 

" What the hell is up ? " snarled one of the reinforcing 
officers. " I thought the line had given way." 

" It has," replied the panting, battle-torn commander. 
" My men are all back here ; there's no one in front but 
the enemy ! " 

" What's that ahead, then ? " The sharp bark of rifles, 
the rat-a-tat of machine guns, the boom of bursting 



146 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

grenades, and the yells, groans, screams and shouts of 
the hand-to-hand conflict came through the curtaining 
smoke in a mad jumble of savage sound. 

" Damned if I know ! We'd better find out ! " They 
began moving their now rallied men back into it. 

Suddenly they came upon it — a writhing mass of 
jeans-clad coolies, wild-eyed, their teeth bared in devil- 
ish, savage grins, their hands busy with the implements 
of death, standing doggedly at bay before grey waves 
that broke upon them as a sullen sea breaks and recedes 
before a jutting point of land. 

With the reinforcements the tide turned, ebbing back 
in a struggling, writhing fury, and soon the ground was 
clear again of all save the wreck that such a wave leaves 
behind it. Once the line was re-established and the sol- 
diers holding it steadily, the coolies, once more the 
wielders of pick and shovel, returned to the work of 
trench repairing, leaving the fighting to those to whom 
it belonged. 

The officers were puzzled. What had started them? 
What had injected that mad fighting spirit into their 
yellow hides? What had caused them to make that 
swift, wild, wonderful stand? 

" Hey, you, John ! " The commanding officer ad- 
dressed one of them when a lull came and they were 
busy again at the tumbled earth. " What you fight for, 
hey?" 

The coolie grinned foolishly. 

" Him say fight. Him heap big man, alle same have 
Dlagon's blood. Him say fight, we fight, sabe?" And 
he pointed to Kan Wong — Kan Wong, his head bleeding 
from a wound, his eyes glowing with a green fury from 
between their narrow lids, his long, strong hands, red 
with blood other than his own, still clutching his rifle 
with a grip that had a tenderly savage joy in it. 

The officer approached him. 

" Are you the man who rallied the coolies and held 
the line ? " he asked shortly. 

Kan Wong stiffened with a dignity to which he now 
felt he had a right. 

" Me fight," he said quietly — " me fight, coolie fight, 



THE BLOOD OF THE DRAGON 147 

too. Me belong Dlagon's blood. One time my people 
fighting men ; long time I wait." 

" You'll wait no longer," said the officer. He un- 
pinned the cross from his tunic and fastened it to the 
torn, bloody blouse of Kan Wong. " Off to the east 
are men of your own race, fighting-men from China, 
Cochin-China. That is the place for a man of the 
Dragon's blood — and that is the tool that belongs in 
your hand till we're done with this mess." He pointed 
to the rifle that Kan Wong still held with a stiff, loving, 
lingering grip. 

And so, on the other side of the world, the Son of 
the Dragon came to his own and realized the dreams 
of a glory he had missed. 



V 



a 



HUMORESQUE " 

By FANNIE HURST 
From Cosmopolitan 

I jT\ N either side of the Bowery, which cuts through 
\^f like a drain to catch its sewage, Every Man's Land, 
a reeking march of humanity and humidity, steams with 
the excrement of seventeen languages, flung in patois 
from tenement windows, fire-escapes, curbs, stoops, and 
cellars whose walls are terrible and spongy with fungi. 

By that impregnable chemistry of race whereby the 
red blood of the Mongolian and the red blood of the 
Caucasian become as oil and water in the mingling, 
Mulberry Street, bounded by sixteen languages, runs 
its intact Latin length of push-carts, clothes-lines, naked 
babies, drying vermicelli ; black-eyed women in rhine- 
stone combs ,'and perennially big with child ; whole fam- 
ilies of button-hole makers, who first saw the blue-and- 
gold light of Sorrento, bent at home work around a 
single gas flare ; pomaded barbers of a thousand Neapol- 
itan amours. And then, just as suddenly, almost with- 
out osmosis and by the mere stepping-down from the 
curb, Mulberry becomes Mott Street, hung in grill-work 
balconies, the mouldy smell of poverty touched up with 
incense. Orientals, whose feet shuffle and whose faces 
are carved out of satinwood. Forbidden women, their 
white, drugged faces behind upper windows. Yellow 
children, incongruous enough in Western clothing. A 
drafty areaway with an oblique of gaslight and a black 
well of descending staircase. Show-windows of jade and 
tea and Chinese porcelains. 

More streets emanating out from Mott like a handful 
of crooked, rheumatic fingers, then suddenly the Bowery 
again, cowering beneath elevated trains, where men, 
burned down to the butt end of soiled lives, pass in and 

148 



" HUMORESQUE " 149 

out and out and in of the knee-high swinging doors — a 
veiny-nosed, acid-eaten race in themselves. 

Allen Street, too, still more easterly and half as wide, 
is straddled its entire width by the steely, long-legged 
skeleton of elevated traffic, so that its third-floor windows 
no sooner shudder into silence from the rushing shock 
of one train than they are shaken into chatter by the 
passage of another. Indeed, third-floor dwellers of Allen 
Street, reaching out, can almost touch the serrated edges 
of the elevated structure, and in summer the smell of 
its hot rails becomes an actual taste in the mouth. Pas- 
sengers, in turn, look in upon this horizontal of life as 
they whiz by. Once, in fact, the blurry figure of what 
might have been a woman leaned out as she passed to 
toss into one Abrahm Kantor's apartment a short- 
stemmed pink carnation. It hit softly on little Leon 
Kantor's crib 2 brushing him fragrantly across the mouth 
and causing him to pucker up. 

Beneath, where, even in August noonday, the sun can- 
not find its way by a chink, and babies lie stark naked 
in the cavernous shade, Allen Street presents a sort of 
submarine and greenish gloom, as if its humanity were 
actually moving through a sea of aqueous shadows, faces 
rather bleached and shrunk from sunlessness as water 
can bleach and shrink. And then, like a shimmering 
background of orange-finned and copper-flanked marine 
life, the brass shops of Allen Street, whole rows of them, 
burn flamelessly and without benefit of fuel. 

To enter Abrahm Kantor's — Brasses — was three steps 
down, so that his casement show-window, at best filmed 
over with the constant rain of dust ground down from 
the rails above, was obscure enough, but crammed with 
the copied loot of khedive and of czar. The seven- 
branch candlestick so Biblical and supplicating of arms. 
An urn, shaped like Rebecca's, of brass all beaten over 
with little poks. Things : cups, trays, knockers, ikons, 
gargoyles, bowls, and teapots. A symphony of bells 
in graduated sizes. Jardinieres with fat sides. A pot- 
bellied samovar. A swinging lamp for the dead, star- 
shaped. Against the door, an octave of tubular chimes, 
prisms of voiceless harmony and of heatless light. 



150 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Opening this door, they rang gently] like melody heard 
through water and behind glass. \. Another bell rang^too, 
in tilted singsong from ^pulley operating somewhere in 
the catacomb rear of this lambent vale of things and 
things and things. In turn, this pulley set in toll still 
; another bell, two flights up in Abrahm Kantor's tenement) 
which overlooked the front of whizzing rails and a rear 
wilderness of gibbet-looking clothes-lines, dangling per- 
petual specters of flapping union suits in a mid-air flaky 
with soot. 

Often at lunch, or even the evening meal, this bell 
would ring in on Abrahm Kan^pr *s digestive well-being, 
and while he hurried down, napkin often bib-fashion 
still about his neck, and into the smouldering lanes of 
copper, would leave an eloquent void at the head of 
his well-surrounded table. 

(This bell was ringing now, jingling in upon the slum- 
ber of a still newer Kantor, 'snuggling peacefully enough 
within the ammoniac depths of a cradle recently evac- 
uated by Leon, heretofore impinged upon you. 

On her knees before an oven that billowed forth hotly 
into her face, Mrs. Kantor, fairly fat and not yet forty, 
and at the immemorial task of plumbing a delicately 
swelling layer-cake with broom-strawl raised her face, 
re4dened and faintly moist. 

" Isadore, run down and say your papa is out until 
sixy If it's a customer, remember the first asking-price 
is the two middle figures on the tag, and the last asking- 
price is the two outside figures. See once, with your 
papa out to buy your little brother his birthday present, 
and your mother in a cake, if you can't make a sale for 
first pricey 

Isadore Kantor, aged eleven and hunched with a 
younger Kantor over an oilcloth-covered table, hunched 
himself still deeper in barter for a large crystal marble 
with a candy stripe down its center. 

" Izzie, did you hear me? " 

" Yes'm." 

" Go down this minute — do you hear ? Rudolph, stop 
always letting your big brother get the best of you in 
marbles. Iz-zy ! " 



" HUMORESQUE " 151 

" In — a — minute. " 

" Don't let me have to ask you again, Isadore Kantor ! " 

" Aw, ma ; I got some 'rithmetic to do. Let Esther 

go." 

" Always Esther ! Your sister stays right in the front 
room with her spelling." ^ 

'(Aw, ma; I got spelling, tooj 

1 jEvery time I ask that boy he should do me one thing, 
right away he gets lessons! With me, that lessons-talk 
don't go no more. Every time you get put down in 
school, I'm surprised there's a place left lower where 
they can put you. Working-papers for such a boy like 
you ! " 

I'll woik- 



" How I worried myself ! (Violin lessons yet — thirty 
cents a lesson out of your papa's pants while he slept ! 
That's how I wanted to have in the family a profession 
— maybe a musician on the violin. Lessons for you out 
of money I had to lie to your papa about \ Honest, when 
I think of it — my own husband — it's a*' wonder I don't 
potch you just for remembering it. Rudolph, will you 
stop licking that cake-pan? It's saved for your little 
brother Leon. Ain't you ashamed even on your little 
brother's birthday to steal from him ? " 

" Ma, gimme the spoon ? " 

" I'll give you the spoon, Isadore Kantor, where you 
don't want it. If you don't hurry down the way that bell 
is ringing, not one bite out of your little brother's birth- 
day-cake to-night ! " 

" I'm goin', ain't I ? " 

" Always on my children's birthdays a meanness sets 
into this house ! Ru-dolph, will you put down that bowl ? 
Iz-zy — for the last time I ask you — for the last time^ — " 
'Erect now, Mrs. Kantor lifted a portentous hand, let- 
ting^ it hover. . 

\Tm goin', ma; for golly sakes, I'm goin'*" said her 
recalcitrant one, shuffling off toward the staircase, shuf- 
fling, shuffling. 

Then Mrs. Kantor resumed her plumbing, and through 
the little apartment, its middle and only bedroom of 
three beds and a crib lighted vicariously by the front 



152 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

room and kitchen, began to wind the warm, the golden- 
brown fragrance of cake in the rising. 

By six o'clock, the shades were drawn against the 
dirty dusk of Allen Street, and the oilcloth-covered table 
dragged out center and spread by Esther Kantor, nine 
in years, in the sturdy little legs bulging over shoe-tops, 
in the pink cheeks that sagged slightly of plumpness, and 
in the utter roundness of face and gaze, but mysteriously 
older in the little-mother lore of crib and knee-dandling 
ditties and in the ropy length and thickness of the two 
brown plaits down her back. 

There was an eloquence to that waiting, laid-out table, 
the print of the family already gathered about it; the 
dynastic high chair, throne of each succeeding Kantor; 
an armchair drawn up before the paternal moustache- 
cup ; the ordinary kitchen chair of Mannie Kantor, who 
spilled things, an oilcloth sort of bib dangling from its 
back; the little chair of Leon Kantor, cushioned in an 
old family album that raised his chin above the table. 
Even in cutlery, the Kantor family was not lacking in 
variety. Surrounding a centerpiece of thick Russian lace 
were Russian spoons washed in washed-off gilt, forks 
of one, two, and three tines. Steel knives with black 
handles. A hart's-horn carving-knife. Thick-lipped 
china in stacks before the armchair. A round four- 
pound-loaf of black bread waiting to be torn, and to- 
night, on the festive mat of cotton lace, a cake of pinkly 
gleaming icing, encircled with five pink little twisted 
candles. 
\At slightly after six, Abrahm Kantor returned, leading 
/by a resisting wrisi^ Xjeon_ Kanjxir. his stemlike little legs, 
nit midship, as it were, ~T)y not sufficiently cut-down 
trousers and(sojnarrow and birdlike of face that his eyes 
quite obliterated the remaining map of his features, like 
those of a still wet nestling) . All except his ears. They 
poised at the sides of Leon's" shaved head of black bristles, 
as if butterflies had just lighted there, whispering, with 
very spread wings, their message, and presently would 
fly off again. By some sort of muscular contraction, he 
could wiggle these ears at will, and would do so for a 
penny, a whistle, and upon one occasion for his brother 



" HUMORESQUE " 153 

Rudolph's dead rat, so devised as to dangle from string 
and window before the unhappy passer-by. They were 
quivering now, these ears, but because the entire little 
face was twitching back tears and gulp of sobs. 
/" Abrahm — Leon — what is it ?J" Her hands and her 
forearms instantly out from the business of kneading 
something meaty and floury, Mrs. Kantor rushed for- 
ward, her glance quick from one to the other of them. 
" Abrahm, what's wrong? " 

"I'll feedle him! I'll feedle himy" 

The little pulling wrist still in clutch, Mr. Kantor re- 
garded his wife, the lower half of his face, well covered 
with reddish bristles, undershot, his free hand and even 
his eyes violently lifted. To those who see in a man a 
perpetual kinship to that animal kingdom of which he 
is supreme, there was something undeniably anthropoidal 
about Abrahm Kantor, a certain simian width between 
the eyes and long, rather agile hands with hairy backs. 

" Hush it ! " cried Mr. Kantor, his free hand raised 
in threat of descent and cowering his small son to still 
more undersized proportions, f Hush it, or, by golly, 
I'll " N 

" Abrahm — Abrahm — what is it ? " 

Then Mr. Kantor gave vent in acridity of word and 
feature. 

. /' Schlemmil!" he cried. " Momser! Ganef! Neb- 
ich!" By which Abrahm Kantor, in smiting mother 
tongue, branded his offspring with attributes of apostate 
and ne'er-do-well, of idiot and thief. 

" Abrahm ! " 

" Schlemmil!" repeated Mr. Abrahm, swinging Leon 
so that he described a large semi-circle that landed him 
into the meaty and waiting embrace of his mother. 
" Take him ! You should be proud of such a little Mom- 
ser for a son! Take him — and here you got back his 
birthday dollar. A feedle ! Honest — when I think on it 
—a feedle ! " 

Such a rush of outrage seemed fairly to strangle 
Mr. Kantor that he stood, hand still upraised, choking 
and inarticulate above the now frankly howling huddle 
of his son. 



154 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

'( Abrahm, you should just once touch this child! 
How he trembles ! Leon — mamma's baby — what is 
it — is this how you come back when papa takes 
you out to buy your birthday present ?j Ain't you 
ashamed ? 

Mouth distended to a large and blackly hollow O, 
Leon, between terrifying spells of breath-holding, con- 
tinued to howl. 

"All the way to Naftel's toy store I drag him. A 
birthday present for a dollar his mother wants he should 
have — all right, a birthday present ! I give you my word 
till I'm ashamed for Naftel, every toy on his shelves 
is pulled down. Such a cow — that shakes with his 
head " 

" No — no — no ! " This from young Leon, beating at 
his mother's skirts. 

Again the upraised but never quite descending hand 
of his father. 

" By golly, I'll ' no— no ' you ! " 

" Abrahm — go way ! Baby, what did papa do ? " 

Then Mr. Kantor broke into an actual tarantella of 
rage, his hands palms up and dancing. 

" ' What did papa do ? ' she asks. She's got easy 
asking. ' What did papa do ? ' The whole shop, I tell 
you. A sheep with a baa inside when you squeeze on 
him — games — a horn so he can holler my head off — such 
a knife like Izzy's with a scissors in it ! ' Leon,' I said, 
ashamed for Naftel, * that's a fine knife like Izzy's so 
you can cut up with.' ' All right then ' — when I see 
how he hollers — ' such a box full of soldiers to have 
war with.' ' Dollar seventy-five,' says Naftel. ' All right 
then,' I says — when I seen how he keeps hollering — 
' give you a dollar fifteen for 'em.' I should make 
myself small for fifteen cents more. ' Dollar fifteen,' 
I says — anything so he should shut up with his hollering 
for what he seen in the window." 

Q' He seen something in the window he wanted, 
Abrahm ? " 

"Didn't I tell you? A f eedle ! A four-dollar feedle! 
A moosiker, so we should have another feedler in the 
.family for some thirty-cents lessons.": 



/, 



HUMORESQUE " 155 



( Abrahm — you mean — he — our Leon — wanted a vio- 
lin?" 

" ' Wanted,' she says. I could potch him again this 
minute for how he wanted it ! Du — you little bum you 
— Chammer — Momser — I'll f eedle you ! " 

Across Mrs. Kantor's face as she knelt there] in the 
shapeless cotton-stuff uniform of poverty, through the 
very tenement of her body, [a light had flashed up into 
her eyes. She drew her son closer, crushing his puny 
cheek up against hers, cupping his bristly little head in 
her. by no means immaculate palms. 

\^He wanted a violin — it's come, Abrahm ! The dream 
of all my life — it's come ! I knew it must be one of 
my children if I waited long enough — and prayed enough. 
A musician ! He wants a violin. He cried for a violin. 
My baby! Why, darlink, mamma'll sell her clothes off 
her back to get you a violinA He's a musician, Abrahm M 
I should have known it the way he's fooling always 
around the chimes and the bells in the store ! " 

Then Mrs. Kantor took to rocking his head between 
her palms. 

7 Oi — oil The mother is crazier as her son. ) A 
moo*sican ! A Fresser you mean. Such an eater, it's a 
wonder he ain't twice too big instead of twice too little 
for his age." 

" That's a sign, Abrahm ; they all eat big. For all 
we know he's a genius. I swear to you, Abrahm, all 
the months before he was born, I prayed for it. Each 
one before they came, I prayed it should be the one. 
I thought that time the way our Isadore ran after the 
organ-grinder he would, be the one. How could I know 
it was the monkey he wanted r) When Isadore wouldn't 
take it, I prayed my next one and then my next one 
should have the talent. (JL've prayed for it, Abrahm. 
If he wants a violin, please, he should have it.;' 

f* Not with my money v j 

"" With mine ! I've got enough saved, Abrahm. Them 
three extra dollars right here inside my own waist, that 
I saved toward that cape down on Grand Street. I 
wouldn't have it now the way they say the wind blows 
up them " 



156 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

"I tell you the woman's crazy !" 

"I feel it! I know he's got talent! I know my chil- 
dren so well A — a father don't understand. I'm so 
next to them.^ It's like I can tell always everything that 
will happen to them — it's like a pain — somewheres here 
— in back of my heart." 

"A pain in the heart she gets!" 

"For my own children I'm always a prophet, I tell 
you. You think I didn't know that — that terrible night 
after the pogrom after we got out of Kief to cross the 
border! You remember, Abrahm, how I predicted it 
to you then — how our Mannie would be born too soon 
and — and not right from my suffering? Did it happen 
on the ship to America just the way I said it would? 
Did it happen just exactly how I predicted our Izzy 
would break his leg that time playing on the fire-escape? 
I tell you, Abrahm, I get a real pain here under my 
heart that tells me what comes to my children. Didn't 
I tell you how Esther would be the first in her 
confirmation-class and our baby Boris would be red- 
headed? At only five years, our Leon all by himself 
cries for a fiddle — get it for him, Abrahm — get it for 
him!" 

"I tell you, Sarah, I got a crazy woman for a wife! 
It ain't enough we celebrate eight birthdays a year with 
one-dollar presents each time and copper goods every 
day higher. It ain't enough that right to-morrow I got 
a fifty-dollar note over me from Sol Ginsberg — a four- 
dollar present she wants for a child that don't even 
know the name of a feedle!" 

"Leon baby, stop hollering — papa will go back and 
get the fiddle for you now before supper. See — mamma's 
got money here in her waist " 

"Papa will go back for the feedle not — three dollars 
she's saved for herself he can holler out of her for a 
feedle!" 

"Abrahm, he's screaming so he — he'll have a fit." 

"He should have two fits." 

"Darlink " 

"I tell you the way you spoil your children it will 
some day come back on us." 



" HUMORESQUE " 157 

" It's his birthday night, Abrahm — five years since 
his little head first lay on the pillow next to me." 

"All right — all right — drive me crazy because he's 
got a birthday." 

" Leon baby — if you don't stop hollering you'll make 
yourself sick. Abrahm, I never saw him like this — he's 
green " / 

" I'll green him. OkVhere is thaj old feedle from Isa- 
dore — that seventy-five-cents one?" 

7*1 never thought of that! You broke it that time 
yougot mad at Isadore's lessons. I'll run down. Maybe 
it's with the junk behind the store. I never thought of 
that fiddle, Leon darlink — wait — mamma'll run down 
and look — wait, Leon, till mamma finds you a fiddle." 

The raucous screams stopped then suddenly, and on 
their very lustiest crest, leaving an echoing gash across 
silence. On willing feet of haste, Mrs. Kantor wound 
down backward the high, ladderlike staircase that led 
to the brass shop. 

Meanwhile, to a gnawing consciousness of dinner- 
hour, had assembled the house of Kantor. Attuned to 
the intimate atmosphere of the tenement which is so 
constantly rent with cry of child, child-bearing, delirium, 
delirium-tremens, Leon Kantor had howled no impression 
into the motley din of things. Isadore, already astride 
his chair, well into center-table, for first vociferous tear 
at the four-pound loaf; Esther Kantor, old at chores, 
settled an infant into the high chair, careful of tiny 
fingers in lowering the wooden bib. 

" Papa, Izzy's eating first again." 

" Put down that loaf and wait until your mother 
dishes up or vou'll get a potch you won't soon forget." 

" Say, pop " ' 

" Don't * say pop ' me ! I don't want no street-bum 
freshness from you ! " 

" I mean, papa, there was an uptown swell in, and 
she bought one of them seventy-five-cent candlesticks for 
the first price." 

" Schlemmil — C hammer! " said Mr. Kantor, rinsing his 
hands at the sink. " Didn't I always tell you it's the first 
price times two when you see up-town business come 



158 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

in? Haven't I learned it to you often enough a slummer 
must pay for her nosiness ? " 

There entered then, on poor shuffling feet, Mannie 
Kantor, so marred in the mysterious and ceramic process 
of life that the brain and the soul had stayed back 
sooner than inhabit him. Seventeen in years, in the 
down upon his face, and in growth unretarded by any 
great nervosity of system, his vacuity of face was not 
that of childhood but rather as if his light eyes were 
peering out from some hinterland and wanting so terribly 
and so dumbly to communicate what they beheld to brain- 
cells closed against himself. 

At sight of Mannie, Leon Kantor, the tears still wetly 
and dirtily down his cheeks, left off his black, fierce- 
eyed stare of waiting long enough to smile, darkly, it is 
true, but sweetly. 

" Giddy-ap ! " he cried. " Giddy-ap ! " 

And then Mannie, true to habit, would scamper and 
scamper. 

Up out of the traplike stair-opening came the head 
of /Mrs. Kantor,^ r disheveled and a smudge of soot across 
her face, (but beneath her arm, triumphant, a violin of 
one string and a broken back.) 

■v^See, Leon — what mamma got! A violin! A fiddle! 
Look — the bow, too, I found. It ain't much, baby, but 
it's a fiddle.)' 

" Aw, ma — that's my old violin — gimme — I want it— 
where'd you find " 

" Hush up, Izzy ! This ain't yours no more. See, 
Leon, what mamma brought you ! A violin ! " 

" Now, you little Chammer, you got a feedle, and if 
you ever let me hear you holler again for a feedle, by 
golly if I don't " 

From his corner, (Leon Kantor reached out, taking the 
instrument and fitting it beneath his chinj the bow im- 
mediately feeling, surely and lightly for string. 

f ' Look, Abrahm ! He knows how to hold it ! What 
did I tell you^ A child that never in his life seen a 
fiddle, except a beggar's on the street ! " 

Little Esther suddenly cantered down-floor, clapping 
her chubby hands. 



" HUMORESQUE " 159 

" Looky — looky — Leon ! " 

The baby ceased clattering his spoon against the 
wooden bib. A silence seemed to shape itself. 

So black and so bristly of, head, his little clawlike 
hands hovering over the bow, (Leon Kantor withdrew a 
note, strangely round and given up almost sobbingly 
from the single string. A note of warm twining quality, 
like a baby's finger.^ 

f Leon — darlink ! V 

Fumbling for string and for notes the instrument could 
not yield up to him, the birdlike mouth began once 
more to open widely and terribly into the orificial O. 

It was then Abrahm Kantor came down with a large 
hollow resonance of palm against the aperture, lifting 
his small son and depositing him plop upon the family 
album. 

" Take that ! By golly, one more whimper out of 
you and if I don't make you black-and-blue, birthday or 
no birthday ! Dish up, Sarah, quick, or I'll give him 
something to cry about." 

The five pink candles had been lighted, burning point- 
edly and with slender little smoke wisps. Regarding 
them owlishly, the tears dried on Leon's face, his little 
tongue licking up at them. 

" Look how solemn he Is, like he was thinking of 
something a million miles away except how lucky he is 
he should have a pink birthday-cake ! Uh — uh — uh ! 
Don't you begin to holler again — Here, I'm putting 
the f eedle next to you — uh — uh — uh ! " 

To a meal plentifully ladled out directly from stove 
to table, the Kantor family drew up, dipping first into 
the rich black soup of the occasion. All except Mrs. 
Kantor. 

" Esther, you dish up ; I'm going somewhere. I'll 
be back in a minute." 

" Where you going, Sarah ? Won't it keep until " 

But even in the face of query, Sarah Kantor was two 
flights down and well through the lambent aisles of 
the copper shop. Outside, she broke into a run, through 
two blocks of the indescribable bazaar atmosphere of 
Grand Street, then one block to the right. 



160 PRIZE STORIES 19 19 

Before Naftel's show-window, a jet of bright gas 
burned into a jibber wock land of toys. There was that 
in Sarah Kantor's face that was actually lyrical, as, 
fumbling at the bosom of her dress, she entered. 

i 

To Leon Kantor, by who knows what symphonic 
scheme of things, life was a chromatic scale, yielding 
up to him through throbbing, living nerves of sheep-gut, 
the sheerest semitones of man's emotions. 

When he tucked his Stradivarius beneath his chin, the 
Book of Life seemed suddenly translated to him in mel- 
ody. Even Sarah Kantor, who still brewed for him, on 
a small portable stove carried from city to city and sur- 
reptitiously unpacked in hotel suites, the blackest of soups, 
and, despite his protestation, would incase his ears of 
nights in an old home-made device against their flighti- 
ness, would often times bleed inwardly at this sense of 
his isolation. 

There was a realm into which he went alone, leaving 
her as detached as the merest ticket purchaser at the box- 
office. 

At seventeen, Leon Kantor had played before the 
crowned heads of Europej the aching heads of American 
capital, and even the shaved head of a South Sea 
prince. There was a laycat of anecdotal gifts, from 
the molar tooth of the South Sea prince set in a South 
Sea pearl to a blue-enamelled snuff-box encrusted 
with the rearing-lion coat of arms of a very royal 
house. 

At eighteen, came the purchase of a king's Stradivarius 
for a king's ransom, and acclaimed by Sunday supple- 
ments to repose of nights in an ivory cradle. 

At nineteen, under careful auspices of press-agent, the 
ten singing digits of the son of Abrahm Kantor were 
insured at ten thousand dollars the finger. 

At twenty, he had emerged surely and safely from 
the perilous quicksands which have sucked down whole 
Lilliputian worlds of infant prodigies. 

(At twenty-one, when Leon Kantor played a Sunday- 
night concert, there was a human queue curling entirely 
around the square block of the opera-house, waiting its 



" HUMORESQUE " 161 

one, two, even three and four hours for the privilege 
of standing-room only^ 

Usually these were Leon Kantor's own people pouring 
up from the lowly lands of the East Side to the white 
lands of Broadway, parched for music, these burning 
brethren of his — old men in that line, frequently carrying 
their own little folding camp-chairs, not against weariness 
of the spirit but of the flesh ; youth with Slavic eyes and 
cheek-bones. These were the six-deep human phalanx 
which would presently slant down at him from tiers of 
steepest balconies and stand frankly emotional and 
jammed in the unreserved space behind the railing which 
shut them off from the three-dollar seats of the reserved. 

At a very special one of these concerts, dedicated to 
the meager purses of just these, and held in New York's 
super-opera-house, the Amphitheater, a great bowl of 
humanity, the metaphor made perfect by tiers of seats 
placed upon the stage, rose from orchestra to dome. A 
gigantic Colosseum of a cup, lined in stacks and stacks of 
faces. From the door of his dressing-room, leaning out, 
Leon Kantor could see a great segment of it, buzzing 
down into adjustment, orchestra twitting and tuning 
into it. ^~ 

In a bare little room, illuminated by a sheaf of roses 
just arrived, Mrs. Kantor drew him back by the elbow. 

" Leon, you're in a draft." 

The amazing years had dealt kindly with Mrs. Kantor. 
Stouter, softer, apparently even taller, she was full of 
small new authorities that could shut out cranks, news- 
paper reporters, and autograph fiends. A fitted-over- 
corsets black taffeta and a high comb in the greying hair 
had done their best with her. Pride, too, had left its 
flush upon her cheeks, like two round spots of fever. 

" Leon, it's thirty minutes till your first number. Close 
that door. Do you want to let your papa and his excite- 
ment in on you ? " 

The son of Sarah Kantor obeyed, leaning on his short, 
rather narrow form in silhouette against the closed door. 
In spite of slimly dark evening clothes worked out by an 
astute manager to the last detail in boyish effects, there 
was that about him which defied long-haired precedent. 



1 62 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Slimly and straightly he had shot up into an unmannered, 
a short, even a bristly-haired young manhood, disqualify- 
ing by a close shave for the older school of hirsute 
virtuosity. 

But his nerves did not spare him. On concert nights 
they seemed to emerge almost to the surface of him and 
shriek their exposure. 

"Just feel my hands, ma. Like ice." 
She dived down into her large silk what-not of a 
reticule. 

" I've got your fleece-lined gloves here, son." 
" No — no. For God's — sake — not those things ! No ! " 
He was back at the door again, opening it to a slit, 
peering through. 

" They're bringing more seats on the stage. If they 
crowd me in I won't go on. I can't play if I hear them 
breathe. Hi — out there — no more chairs — pa — Han- 
cock " 

" Leon, Leon, ain't you ashamed to get so worked up ? 
Close that door. Have you got a manager who is paid 
just to see to your comfort? When papa comes, I'll 
have him go out and tell Hancock you don't want chairs 
so close to you. Leon, will you mind mamma and sit 
down? " 

(" It's a bigger house than the royal concert in Madrid, 
ma. Why, I never saw anything like it ! It's a stampede. 
God, this is real — this is what gets me, playing for my 
own ! I should have given a concert like this three years 
ago. I'll do it every year now. I'd rather play before 
them than all the crowned heads on earth. It's the big- 
gest night of my life — they're rioting out there, ma — 
rioting to get inj' 

" Leon, Leon, won't you sit down if mamma begs 
you to ? " 

He sat then, strumming with all ten fingers upon his 
knees. 

" Try to get quiet, son. Count — like you always do. 

One — two — three " 

" Please ma — for God's sake — please — please ! " 
" Look — such beautiful roses ! From Sol Ginsberg, 
an old friend of papa's he used to buy brasses from 



" HUMORESQUE " 163 

eighteen years ago. Six years he's been away with his 
daughter in Munich. Such a beautiful mezzo, they say, 
engaged already for Metropolitan next season." 

" I hate it, ma, if they breathe on my neck." 

" Leon darlink, did mamma promise to fix it? Have 
I ever let you plan a concert where you wouldn't be com- 
fortable?" 

His long, slim hands suddenly prehensile and cutting 
a long, upward gesture, Leon Kantor rose to his feet, 
face whitening. 

" Do it now ! Now, I tell you ! I won't have them 
breathe on me. Do you hear me ? Now ! Now ! Now ! " 

Risen also, her face soft and tremulous for him, Mrs. 
Kantor put out a gentle, a sedative hand upon his sleeve. 

" Son," she said, with an edge of authority even be- 
hind her smile, " don't holler at me." 

He grasped her hand with his two, and, immediately 
quiet, placed a close string of kisses along it. 

" Mamma," he said, kissing them again and again into 
the palm, " mamma — mamma ! " 

" I know, son ; it's nerves." 

" They eat me, ma. Feel — I'm like ice. I didn't mean 
it; you know I didn't mean it." 

Q' My baby," she said, " my wonderful boy, it's like I 
can never get used to the wonder of having you ! The 
greatest one of them all should be miney— a plain woman's 
like mine ! " 

He teased her, eager to conciliate and ride down his 
own state of quivering. 

" Now, ma — now — now — don't forget Rimsky ! " 

""Rimsky!' A man three times your age who was 
playing concerts before you was born ! Is that a com- 
parison ? From your clippings-books I can show Rimsky 
who the world considers the greatest violinist. Rimsky 
he rubs into me ! " 

" All right then, the press-clippings^but did Elsass, 
the greatest manager of them all, bring me a contract 
for thirty concerts at two thousand a concert?; Now 
I've got you ! Now ! " 

She would not meet his laughter. 

" f Elsass ! ' Believe me, he'll come to you yet. My 



164 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

boy should worry if he makes fifty thousand a year more 
or less. Rimsky should have that honour — for so long 
as he can hold it. But he won't hold it long. Believe 
me, I don't rest easy in my bed till Elsass comes after 
you. 'Not for so big a contract like Rimsky's, but bigger 
— not for thirty concerts but for fifty \y 

" Brava! Br aval There's a woman for you. More 
money than she knows what to do with, and then not 
satisfied ! " 

She was still too tremulous for banter. 

" ' Not satisfied ? ' Why, Leon, I never stop praying 
my thanks for you ! " 

" All right then," he cried, laying his icy fingers on 
her cheek; "to-morrow we'll call a Mignon — a regular 
old-fashioned Allen Street prayer-party ! " 

" Leon, you mustn't make fun." 

" Make fun of the sweetest girl in this room ? " 

" ' Girl ! ' Ah, if I could only hold you by me this way, 
Leon ! Always a boy — with me — your poor old mother — 
your only girl. That's a fear I suffer with, Leon — to 
lose you to a — girl ! That's how selfish the mother of 
such a wonder-child like mine can get to be." 

" All right. Trying to get me married off again. Nice ! 
Fine ! " 

"Is it any wonder I suffer, son? Twenty-one years 
to have kept you by me a child. A boy that's never in 
his life was out after midnight except to catch trains. 
A boy that never has so much as looked at a girl and 
could have looked at princesses. To have kept you all 
these years — mine — is it any wonder, son, I never stop 
praying my thanks for you ? You don't believe Hancock, 
son, the way he keeps teasing you always you should have 
a — what he calls — affair — a love-affair? Such talk is 
not nice, Leon — an affair ! " 

" Love-affair poppycock ! " said Leon Kantor, lifting 
his mother's face and kissing her on eyes about ready 
to tear. " Why, I've got something, ma, right here in 
my heart for you that " 

" Leon, be careful your shirt-front ! " 

' That's so — so what you call ' tender,' for my best 
sweetheart that I — oh, love-affair — poppycock ! " 



11 HUMORESQUE " 165 

She would not let her tears come. 

" My boy — my wonder-boy ! " 

" There goes the overture, ma." 

" Here, darlink — your glass of water." 

" I can't stand it in here ; I'm suffocating ! " 

" Got your mute in your pocket, son ? " 

" Yes, ma ; for God's sake, yes ! Yes ! Don't keep 
asking things." 

"Ain't you ashamed, Leon, to be in such an excite- 
ment? For every concert you get worse." 

" The chairs — they'll breathe on my neck." 

"Leon, did mamma promise you those chairs would 
be moved? " 

"Where's Hancock?" 

" Say — I'm grateful if he stays out. It took me enough 
work to get this room cleared. You know your papa 
he likes to drag in the whole world to show you off 
— always just before you play. The minute he walks 
in the room, right away he gets everybody to trembling 
just from his own excitements. I dare him this time 
he should bring people — no dignity has that man got, 
the way he brings everyone." 

Even upon her words came a rattling of door, of 
door-knob and a voice through the clamour. 

" Open — quick — Sarah ! Leon ! " 

A stiffening raced over Mrs. Kantor, so that she sat 
rigid on her chair-edge, lips compressed, eye darkly upon 
the shivering door. 

"Open— Sarah!" 

With a narrowing glance, Mrs. Kantor laid to her 
lips a forefinger of silence. 

" Sarah, it's me ! Quick, I say ! " 

Then Leon Kantor sprang up, the old prehensile ges- 
ture of curving fingers shooting up. 

" For God's sake, ma, let him in ! I can't stand that 
infernal battering." 

" Abrahm, go away ! Leon's got to have quiet before 
his concert." 

" Just a minute, Sarah. Open quick ! " 

With a spring, his son was at the door, unlocking and 
flinging it back. 



166 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" Come in, pa." 

The years had weighed heavily upon Abrahm Kantor 
in avoirdupois only. He was himself plus eighteen 
years, fifty pounds, and a new sleek pomposity that 
was absolutely oleaginous. It shone roundly in his face, 
doubling of chin, in the bulge of waistcoat, heavily gold- 
chained, and in eyes that behind the gold-rimmed glasses 
gave sparklingly forth his estate of well-being. 

" Abrahm, didn't I tell you not to dare to " 

On excited balls of feet that fairly bounced him, 
Abrahm Kantor burst in. 

" Leon — mamma — I got out here an old friend — Sol 
Ginsberg — you remember, mamma, from brasses " 

" Abrahm — not now " 

" Go way with your ' not now ! ' I want Leon should 
meet him. Sol, this is him — a little grown-up from such 
a Nebich like you remember him — nut Sarah, you re- 
member Sol Ginsberg? Say — I should ask you if you 
remember your right hand? Ginsberg & Esel, the firm. 
This is his girl, a five years' contract signed yesterday 
— five hundred dollars an opera for a beginner — six roles 
— not bad — nut" 

" Abrahm, you must ask Mr. Ginsberg please to ex- 
cuse Leon until after his concert " 

" Shake hands with him, Ginsberg. He's had his hand 
shook enough in his life, and by kings, too — shake it 
once more with an old bouncer like you ! " 

Mr. Ginsberg, not unlike his colleague in rotundities, 
held out a short, a dimpled hand. 

" It's a proud day," he said, " for me to shake the 
hands from mine old friend's son and the finest violinist 
living to-day. My little daughter " 

" Yes, yes, Gina. Here shake hands with him. Leon, 
they say a voice like a fountain. Gina Berg — eh, 
Ginsberg — is how you stage-named her? You hear, 
mamma, how fancv — Gina Berg? We go hear her, 
eh?" 

There was about Miss Gina Berg, whose voice could 
soar to the tirra-lirra of a lark and then deepen to mezzo, 
something of the actual slimness of the poor, maligned 
Elsa so long buried beneath the buxomness of divas. 



11 HUMORESQUE " 167 

She was like a little flower that in its crannied nook 
keeps dewy longest. 

" How do you do, Leon Kantor? " 

There was a whir through her English of three acquired 
languages. 

" How do you do? " 

" We — father and I — travelled once all the way from 
Brussels to Dresden to hear you play. It was worth it. 
I shall never forget how you played the ' Humoresque. , 
It made me laugh and cry." 

"You like Brussels?" 

She laid her little hand to her heart, half closing her 
eyes. 

" I will never be so happy again as with the sweet 
little people of Brussels." 

" I, too, love Brussels. I studied there four years with 
Ahrenfest." 

" I know you did. My teacher, Lyndahl, in Berlin, 
was his brother-in-law." 

" You have studied with Lyndahl ? " 

" He is my master." 

"I — will I sometime hear you sing?" 

" I am not yet great. When I am foremost like you, 
yes." 

" Gina — Gina Berg, that is a beautiful name to make 
famous." 

" You see how it is done ? Gins — Berg. Gina Berg." 

" Clev-er ! " 

They stood then smiling across a chasm of the diffi- 
dence of youth, she fumbling at the great fur pelt out 
of which her face flowered so dewily. 

" I — well — we — we are in the fourth box — I guess 
we had better be going — fourth box left." He wanted 
to find words, but for consciousness of self could not. 
" It's a wonderful house out there waiting for you, Leon 
Kantor, and you — you're wonderful, too ! " 

" The— flowers— thanks ! " 

" My father, he sent them. Come, father — quick ! " 

Suddenly there was a tight tensity that seemed to 
crowd up the little room. 

" Abrahm — quick — get Hancock — that first rows of 



168 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

chairs has got to be moved — there he is, in the wings — 
see the piano ain't dragged down too far ! Leon, got 
your mute in your pocket? Please Mr. Ginsberg — you 
must excuse — Here, Leon, is your glass of water. 
Drink it, I say. Shut that door out there, boy, so there 
ain't a draft in the wings. Here, Leon, your violin. Got 
your neckerchief ? Listen how they're shouting — it's for 
you — Leon — darlink — go ! " 

I In the center of that vast human bowl which had 
finally shouted itself out, slim, boylike, ,-and in his su- 
preme isolation, Leon Kantor drew bow and a first thin, 
pellucid, and perfect note into a silence breathless to 
receive it. 

Throughout the arduous flexuosities of the Mendels- 
sohn E-minor concerto, singing, winding from tonal to 
tonal climax, and out of the slow movement, which is 
like a tourniquet twisting the heart into the spirited 
allegro molto vivace, it was as if beneath Leon Kantor's 
fingers the strings were living vein-cords, youth, vitality, 
and the very foam of exuberance racing through them. 

\That was the power of him — the Vichy and the sparkle 
of youth, so that, playing, the melody poured round 
him like wine and went down seething and singing into 
the hearts of his hearers. 

Later, and because these were his people and because 
they were dark and Slavic with his Slavic darkness, he 
played, as if his very blood were weeping, the " I£ol 
Nidre," which is the prayer of his race for atonement.' 

And then the super-amphitheater, filled with those 
whose emotions lie next to the surface and whose pores 
have not been closed over with a water-tight veneer, 
burst into its cheers and its tears. 

There were fifteen recalls from the wings, Abrahm 
Kantor standing counting them off on his fingers, and 
trembling to receive the Stradivarius. Then, finally, and 
against the frantic negative pantomime of his manager, 
a scherzo, played so lacily that it swept the house in 
lightest laughter. 

When Leon Kantor finally completed his program, 
they were loath to let him go, crowding down the aisles 
upon him, applauding up, down, round him, until the 



" HUMORESQUE " 169 

great disheveled house was like the roaring of a sea, and 
he would laugh and throw out his arm in wide-spread 
helplessness, and always his manager in the background, 
gesticulating against too much of his precious product 
for the money, ushers already slamming up chairs, his 
father's arms out for the Stradivarius, and, deepest in 
the gloom of the wings, Sarah Kantor, in a rocker espe- 
cially dragged out for her, and from the depths of the 
black-silk reticule, darning his socks. 

u Bravo — bravo ! LGive us the ' Humoresque ' — Chopin 
nocturne — polonaise — ' Humoresque ' ! Bravo — bravo I " 

And even as they stood, hatted and coated, importun- 
ing and pressing in upon him, and with a wisp of a smile 
to the fourth left box, Leon Kantor played them the 
"" Humoresque " of Dvorak, skedaddling, plucking, quirk- 
ing—that laugh on life with a tear behind it? Then 
suddenly, because he could escape no other way, rushed 
straight back for his dressing-room, bursting in upon a 
flood of family already there before him. Isadore Kan- 
tor, blue-shaven, aquiline, and already greying at the 
temples ; his five-year-old son, Leon ; a soft little pouter- 
pigeon of a wife, too, enormous of bust, in glittering 
ear-drops and a wrist-watch of diamonds half buried in 
chubby wrist; Miss Esther Kantor, pink and pretty; 
Rudolph; Boris, not yet done with growing-pains. 

At the door, Miss Kantor met her brother, her eyes 
as sweetly moist as her kiss. 

" Leon, darling, you surpassed even yourself ! " 

" Quit crowding, children ! Let him sit down. Here, 
Leon, let mamma give you a fresh collar. Look how 
the child's perspired! Pull down that window, Boris. 
Rudolph, don't let no one in. I give you my word if 
to-night wasn't as near as I ever came to seeing a house 
go crazy. Not even that time in Milan, darlink — when 
they broke down the doors, was it like to-night " 

" Ought to seen, ma, the row of police outside n 

" Hush up, Roody ! Don't you see your brother is 
trying to get his breath ? " 

From Mrs. Isadore Kantor : " You ought to seen the 
balconies, mother. Isadore and I went up just to see 
the jam." 



170 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" Six thousand dollars in the house to-night if there 
was a cent," said Isadore Kantor. 

" Hand me my violin please, Esther. I must have 
scratched it, the way they pushed." 

" No, son ; you didn't. I've already rubbed it up. 
Sit quiet, darlink ! " 

He was limply white, as if the vitality had flowed out 
of him. 

" God ! Wasn't it — tremendous ? " 

" Six thousand if there was a cent," repeated Isadore 
Kantor; " more than Rimsky ever played to in his life! " 

" Oh, Izzy, you make me sick, always counting — 
counting." 

" Your sister's right, Isadore. You got nothing to com- 
plain of if there was only six hundred in the house. A 
boy whose fiddle has made already enough to set you 
up in such a fine business, his brother Boris in such a 
fine college, automobiles — style — and now because Vladi- 
mir Rimsky, three times his age, gets signed up with 
Elsass for a few thousand more a year, right away the 
family gets a long face " 

" Ma, please ; Isadore didn't mean it that way! " 

" Pa's knocking, ma ; shall I let him in ? " 

" Let him in, Roody. I'd like to know what good it 
will do to try to keep him out." 

In an actual rain of perspiration, his tie slid well under 
one ear,/Abrahm Kantor burst in; mouthing the words 
before his acute state of strangulation would let them 
out 

'(Elsass — it's Elsass outside — he — wants — to sign — 
Leon — fifty concerts — coast to coast — two thousand — 
next season — he's got the papers — already drawn up — 
the pen outside waiting— — " 

" Abrahm ! " 

" Pa ! " 

In the silence that followed, Isadore Kantor, a poppi- 
ness of stare and a violent redness set in, suddenly turned 
to his five-year-old son, sticky with lollypop, and came 
down soundly and with smack against the infantile, the 
slightly outstanding, and unsuspecting ear. 

" Momser!" he cried. " Char^mer! J^ump! Ganef! 



"HUMORESQUE" 171 

You hear that ? Two thousand ! Two thousand ! Didn't 
I tell you — didn't I tell you to practise ? " 
/*Even as Leon Kantor put pen to this princely docu- 
ment, Francis Ferdinand of Austria, the assassin's bullet, 
true, lay dead in state, and let slip were the dogs of warj 

In the next years, men, forty deep, were to die in piles ; 
hayricks of fields to become human hayricks of battle- 
fields ; Belgium disembowelled, her very entrails drag- 
ging to find all the civilized world her champion, and 
between the poppies of Flanders, crosses, thousands upon 
thousands of them, to mark the places where the youth 
of her allies fell, avenging outrage. Seas, even when 
calmest, were to become terrible, and men's heart-beats, 
a bit sluggish with the fatty degeneration of a sluggard 
peace, to quicken and then to throb with the rat-a-tat-tat, 
the rat-a-tat-tat of the most peremptory, the most rever- 
berating call to arms in the history of the world. 

■In June, 1917, Leon Kantor] answering that rat-a-tat- 
tat, enlisted. 

In November; honed by the interim of training to 
even a new leanness, and sailing orders heavy and light 
in his heart, Lieutenant Kantor, On two day's home- 
leave, took leave of his home, which can* be crudest 
when it is tenderest. 

Standing there in the expensive, the formal, the enor- 
mous French parlour of his up-town apartment de luxe, 
from not one of whose chairs would his mother's feet 
touch floor, a wall of living flesh, mortared in blood, 
was throbbing and hedging him in. 

He would pace up and down the long room, heavy 
with the faces of those who mourn, with a laugh too 
ready, too facetious in his fear for them. 

r " Well, well, what is this, anyway, a wake ? Where's 
the coffin? Who's dead??> 

His sister-in-law shot out her plump, watch-incrusted 
wrist. 

" Don't, Leon ^ she cried. " Such talk is a sin ! It 
might come true." 

Rosie-Posy-butter-ball," he said, pausing beside her 
chair to pinch her deeply soft cheek. " Cry-baby- roly- 



172 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

poly, you can't shove me off in a wooden kimono that 
way." 

From his place before the white-and-gold mantel, 
staring steadfastly at the floor-tiling, Isadore Kantor 
turned suddenly, a bit whiter and older at the temples. 

" Don't get your comedy, Leon." 

" * Wooden kimono ' — Leon ? " 

" That's the way the fellows at camp joke about 
coffins, ma. I didn't mean anything but fun. Great 
Scott — can't anyone take a joke?" 

"O God! O God!" His mother fell to swaying, 
softly hugging herself against shivering. 

" Did you sign over power of attorney to pa, Leon? " 

"All fixed, Izzy." 

" I'm so afraid, son, you don't take with you enough 
money in your pockets. You know how you lose it. If 
only you would let mamma sew that little bag inside 
your uniform with a little place for bills and a little 
place for the asfitidy ! " 

" Now, please, ma — please ! If I needed more, wouldn't 
I take it ? Wouldn't I be a pretty joke among the fellows, 
tied up in that smelling stuff? Orders are orders, ma; 
I know what to take and what not to take." 

" Please, Leon, don't get mad at me, but if you will 
let me put in your suitcase just one little box of that 
salve for your finger tips, so they don't crack " 

Pausing as he paced to lay cheek to her hair, he patted 
her. 

"Three boxes if you want. Now, how's that?" 

"And you won't take it out so soon as my back is 
turned?" 

" Cross my heart." 

His touch seemed to set her trembling again, all her 
illy concealed emotions rushing up. 

" I can't stand it ! Can't ! Can't ! Take my life- 
take my blood, but don't take my boy — don't take my 
boy " 

" Mamma, mamma, is that the way you're going to 
begin all over again after your promise ? " 

She clung to him, heaving against the rising storm of 
sobs. 



" HUMORESQUE " 173 



C " I can't help it — can't — cut out my heart from me, 
but let me keep my boy — my wonder-boy " 

u s~\ 1. ».l _i_ _ i_ _ __i__ j _r 1 if 5 + a. i?_x^„ ^_ 



Oughtn't she be ashamed of herself? Just listen to 
her, Esther! What will we do with her? Talks like 
she had a guarantee I wasn't coming back. Why, I 
wouldn't be surprised if by spring I wasn't tuning up 
again for a coast-to-coast tour " 

"(* Spring ' — that talk don't fool me — without my boy, 
the ^springs in my life are over " 

" Why, ma, you talk like every soldier who goes to 
war was killed. There's only the smallest percentage 
of them die in battle " 

" * Spring,' he says ; ' spring ! ' Crossing the seas from 
me! To live through months with that sea between us 
— my boy maybe shot — my " 

" Mamma, please ! " 

" I can't help it, Leon ; I'm not one of those fine 
mothers that can be so brave. Cut out my heart, but 
leave my boy — my wonder-boy — my child I prayed for J " 

" There's other mothers, ma, with sons." 

" Yes, but not wonder-sons ! A genius like you could 
so easy get excused, Leon. Give it up. Genius it should 
be the last to be sent to — the slaughter-pen. /Leon darlink 
—don't go ! * K 

" Ma, ma — you don't mean what you're saying. You 
wouldn't want me to reason that way. You wouldn't 
want me to hide behind my — violin/' 

" I would ! Would ! You should wait for the draft. 
With my Roody and even my baby Boris enlisted, ain't 
it enough for one mother ? Since they got to be in camp, 
all right, I say, let them be there, if my heart breaks 
for it, but not my wonder-child ! You get the exemption, 
Leon, right away for the asking. Stay with me, Leon ! 
Don't go away ! The people at home got to be kept happy 
with music. That's being a soldier, too, playing their 
troubles away. Stay with me, Leon! Don't go leave 
me — don't — don't " 

He suffered her to lie, tear-drenched, back into his 
arms, holding her close in his compassion for her, his 
own face twisting. 

" God, ma, this — this is awful ! Please — you make us 



A/t. 



174 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

ashamed — all of us ! I don't know what to say. Esther, 
come quiet her — for God's sake quiet her ! " 

From her place in that sobbing circle, Esther Kantor 
crossed to kneel beside her mother. 

" Mamma, darling, you're killing yourself ! What if 
every family went on this way? You want papa to come 
in and find us all crying? Is this the way you want 
Leon to spend his last hour with us " 

" O God— God ! " 

" I mean his last hour until he comes back, darling. 
Didn't you just hear him say, darling, it may be by 
spring ? " 

" ' Spring ' — ' spring ' — never no more springs for 
me " 

" Just think, darling, how proud we should be. Our 
Leon, who could so easily have been excused, not even 
to wait for the draft." 

" It's not too late yet — please, Leon " 

" Our Roody and Boris both in camp, too, training 
to serve their country. Why, mamma, we ought to be 
crying for happiness ! As Leon says, surely the Kantor 
family who fled out of Russia to escape massacre should 
know how terrible slavery can be. That's why we must 
help our boys, mamma, in their fight to make the world 
free. Right, Leon ? " — trying to smile with her red- 
rimmed eyes. 

" We've got no fight with no one ! Not a child of mine 
was ever raised to so much as lift a finger against no 
one. We've got no fight with no one." 

" We have got a fight with some one. With autocracy ! 
Only, this time it happens to be Hunnish autocracy. You 
should know it, mamma ; oh, you should know it deeper 
down in you than any of us, the fight our family right 
here has got with autocracy ! " 

" Leon's right, mamma darling, the way you and papa 
were beaten out of your country " 

" There's not a day in your life you don't curse it 
without knowing it ! Every time we three boys look 
at your son and our brother Mannie, born an — an im- 
becile — because of autocracy, we know what we're fight- 
ing for. We know. You know, too. Look at him over 



"HUMORESQUE" 175 

r 

there, even before he was born, ruined by autocracy!! 
Know what I'm fighting for? Why, this whole family 
knows ! What's music, what's art, what's life itself in 
a world without freedom? Every time, ma, you get 
to thinking we've got a fight with no one, all you have 
to do is look at our poor Mannie. He's the answer! 
He's the answer ! " 

In a foaming sort of silence, Mannie Kantor smiled 
softly from his chair beneath the pink-and-gold shade 
of the piano-lamp. The heterogeneous sounds of women 
weeping had ceased. Straight in her chair, her great 
shelf of bust heaving, sat Rosa Kantor, suddenly dry 
of eye; Isadore Kantor head up. Erect now, and out 
from the embrace of her daughter, Sarah looked up at 
her son. 

" What time do you leave, Leon ? " she asked, actually 
firm of lip. 

" Any minute, ma. Getting late." 

This time she pulled her lips to a smile, waggling her 
forefinger. 

" Don't let them little devils of French girls fall in 
love with my dude in his uniform." 

Her pretense at pleasantry was almost more than he 
could bear. 

" Hear ! Hear ! Our mother thinks I'm a reg- 
ular lady-killer ! Hear that, Esther ? " — pinching her 
cheek. 

" You are, Leon — only — only, you don't know it." 

" Don't you bring down too many beaus while I'm 
gone, either, Miss Kantor ! " 

" I— won't, Leon." 

Sotto voce to her : " Remember, Esther, while I'm 
gone, the royalties from the Discaphone records are 
yours. I want you to have them for pin-money and 
— maybe a dowry ? " 

She turned from him. 

" Don't, Leon— don't " 

" I like him ! Nice fellow, but too slow ! Why, if 
I were in his shoes, I'd have popped long ago." 

She smiled with her lashes dewy. 

There entered then, in a violet-scented little whirl, 



i 7 6 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Miss Gina Berg, rosy with the sting of a winters night, 
and, as usual, swathed in the high-napped furs. 

" Gina ! " 

She was for greeting everyone, a wafted kiss to Mrs. 
Kantor, and then arms wide, a great bunch of violets 
in one outstretched hand, her glance straight sure and 
sparkling for Leon Kantor. 

" Surprise — everybody — surprise ! " 

" Why, Gina — we read — we thought you were singing 
in Philadelphia to-night ! " 

" So did I, Esther darling, until a little bird whispered 
to me that Lieutenant Kantor was home on farewell 
leave." 

He advanced to her down the great length of room, 
lowering his head over her hand, his puttee-clad legs 
clicked together. 

" You mean, Miss Gina — Gina — you didn't sing ? " 

" Of course I didn't ! Hasn't every prima donna a 
larynx to hide behind?" She lifted off her fur cap, 
spilling curls. 

" Well, I — I'll be hanged ! " said Lieutenant Kantor, 
his eyes lakes of her reflected loveliness. 

She let her hand linger in his. 

" Leon — you — really going — how — terrible — how — how 
— wonderful ! " 

" How wonderful — your coming ! " 

" I — you think it was not nice of me — to come ? " 

" I think it was the nicest thing that ever happened 
in the world." 

" All the way here in the train, I kept saying — crazy 
— crazy — running to tell Leon — Lieutenant — Kantor 
good-bye — when you haven't even seen him three times 
in three years " 

" But each — each of those three times we — we've 
remembered, Gina." 

"But that's how I feel toward all the boys, Leon — 
our righting boys — just like flying to them to kiss them 
each one good-bye." 

" Come over, Gina. You'll be a treat to our mother. 
I — well, I'm hanged — all the way from Philadelphia ! " 

There was even a sparkle to talk then, and a let-up 



" HUMORESQUE " 177 

of pressure. After a while, Sarah Kantor looked up 
aj: her son, tremulous but smiling. 
_" Well, son, you going to play — for your old mother 
before — you go? It'll be many a month — spring — maybe 
longer before I hear my boy again except on the disca- 
phone." 

He shot a quick glance to his sister. 

"Why, I— I don't know. I— I'd love it, ma, if — if./ 
you think, Esther, I'd better." 

'(You don't need to be afraid of me, darlink. There's 
nothing can give me the strength to bear — what's before 
nie like — like my boy's music. That's my life, his music. "J 
i " Why, yes ; if mamma is sure she feels that way, play 
'for us, Leon." 

] He was already at the instrument, where it lay swathed, 
:atop the grand piano. \ 
• \' What'll it be, f olkstf " 

i '^"Something to make ma laugh, Leon — something light, 
something funny." . 

"tHumoresque ' ? J he said, with a quick glance for 
Miss Berg. 

" ' Humoresque,' " she said, smiling back at him. 
.He capered through, cutting and playful of bow, the 
melody of Dvorak's, which is as ironic as a grinning 
mask. ) 

Finished, he smiled at his parent, her face still un- 
tearful. 

"How's that?" J) 

" It's like life, son, that piece. Laughing and making 
fun of — the way just as we think we got — we ain't got." r 

*' Play that new piece, Leon, the one you set to music. 
You know. The words by that young boy in the war 
who wrote such grand poetry before he was killed. The 
one that always makes poor Mannie laugh. Play it 
for him, Leon." 

Her plump little unlined face innocent of fault, Mrs. 
Isadore Kantor ventured her request, her smile tired 
with tears. 

" No, no — Rosa — not now — ma wouldn't want that." 

" I do, son ; I do ! Even Mannie should have his share 
of good-bye." 



178 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

To Gina Berg : " They want me to play that little setting 
of mine of Allan Seeger's poem, ' I have a rendezvous.' " 

" It — it's beautiful, Leon ! I was to have sung it 
on my program to-night — only, I'm afraid you had better 

not » ' 

f" Please, Leon ! Nothing you play can ever make me 
as^'sad as it makes me glad.. Mannie should have too 
his good-bye." 

"All right then, ma, if — if you're sure you want it. 
Will you sing it, Gina ? " 

She had risen. 

" Why, yes, Leon." 

She sang it then, quite purely, her hands clasped sim- 
ply together and her glance mistily off, the beautiful, 
the heroic, t^he lyrical prophecy of a soldier-poet and a 
poet-soldier. 

But I've a rendezvous with Death 
On some scarred slope of battered hill, 
When spring comes round again this year 
And the first meadow-flowers appear. 1 

In the silence that followed, a sob burst out stifled 
from Esther Kantor, this time her mother holding her 
in arms that were strong. 

" That, Leon, is the most beautiful of all your com- 
positions. What does it mean, son, that word, ' rondy- 
voo'?" 

" Why, I — I don't exactly know. A rendezvous — it's 
a sort of meeting, an engagement, isn't it, Miss Gina? 
Gina?" 

" That's it, Leon — an engagement." 

" Have I an engagement with you, Gina ? " 

" Oh, how — how I hope you have, Leon ! " 

"When?" 

"In the spring ? " 

" That's it — in the spring." 

Then they smiled, these two, who had never felt more 
than the merest butterfly wings of love brushing them, 
light as lashes. No word between them, only an un- 
finished sweetness, waiting to be linked up. 



" HUMORESQUE " 179 

Suddenly there burst in Abrahm Kantor. 
*"** Quick, Leon ! I got the car downstairs. Just fifteen 
minutes to make the ferry. v Quick ! The sooner we get 
him over there the sooner we get him back ! I'm right, 
mamma ? Now — now — no water-works ! Get your 
brother's suitcase, Isadore. Now — now — no nonsense — 
quick ! " 

With a deftly manoeuvred round of good-byes, a grip- 
laden dash for door, a throbbing moment of turning back 
when it seemed as though Sarah Kantor's arms could 
not unlock their deadlock of him, Leon Kantor was out 
and gone, the group of faces point-etched into the silence 
behind him. The poor mute face of Mannie, laughing 
softly. Rosa Kantor crying into her hands. ( Esther^ 
grief-crumpled, but rich in the enormous hope of youths 
The sweet Gina, to whom the waiting months had already 
begun their reality. 

LNot so, Sarah Kantor. In a bedroom adjoining, its 
high-ceilinged vastness as cold as a cathedral to her 
lowness of stature, sobs dry and terrible were rumbling 
up from her, only to dash against lips tightly restraining 
them. 

On her knees beside a chest of drawers, and unwrap- 
ping it from swaddling-clothes, she withdrew what at 
best had been a sorry sort of riddle. Cracked of back 
and solitary of string it was as if her trembling arms, 
raising it above her head, would make of themselves 
and her swaying body the tripod of an altar. The old 
twisting and prophetic pain was behind her heart. Like 
the painted billows of music that the old Italian masters 
loved to do, there wound and wreathed about her clouds 
of song. 

But I've a rendezvous with Death 
On some scarred slope of battered hill, 
When spring comes round again this year 
And the first meadow-flowers appear. ^ 



THE LUBBENY KISS 

By LOUISE RICE 
From Ainslee's Magazine 

FOR many hours the hot July sun had beaten down 
upon the upland meadows and the pine woods of 
the lower New Jersey hills. So, when the dew began 
to fall, there arose from them a heady brew, distilled 
from blossoming milkweed and fruiting wild raspberry 
canes and mountain laurel and dried pine needles. 

The Princess Dora Parse took this perfume into her 
lusty young lungs and blew it out again in a long sigh, 
after which she bent her first finger over her thumb 
as one must when one returns what all Romanys know 
to be " the breath of God." She did this almost uncon- 
sciously, for all her faculties were busied in another 
matter. 

The eyes of a gorgio, weakened by an indoor life, 
would never have been able to distinguish the small 
object for which the princess looked, for she was perched 
up on the high seat of the red Romany zvardo, and she 
drove her two strong, shaggy horses with a free and 
careless hand. But to Dora Parse the blur of vague 
shadows gliding by each wheel was not vague at all. 
Suddenly she checked her horses and sprang down. 

The patteran for which she was looking was laid 
beneath a clump of the flowering weed which the Rom- 
anys call " stars in the sky." The gorgios know it as 
Queen Ann's lace, and the farmers curse it by the name 
of the wild carrot. The patteran was like a miniature 
log cabin without a roof, and across the top one large 
stick was laid, pointing upward along the mountain road. 

Two brown and slender fingers on the big braid which 
dropped over her shoulder, the princess meditated, a 
shiver of fear running through her. What, she asked 

1 80 



THE LUBBENY KISS 181 

herself, could this mean? Why, for the first time in 
years, were the wagons to go to the farm of Jan Jacobus? 
Even if it were only a chance happening, it was a most 
unfortunate one, for young Jan, the fair-haired, giant 
son of old Jacobus, with his light blue eyes and his drawl- 
ing, insolent speech, was the last person in the world 
that she wanted to see, especially with her man near. 

For she had meant no harm. Many and many a time 
she had smiled into the eyes of men and felt pride in 

her power over them. Still — and yet The princess 

scattered the patteran with her foot, for she knew that 
all the wagons must be ahead of her, since she had 
lagged so, and she leaped to her seat with one easy, lithe 
swing and drove on up the darkening road. 

Jan Jacobus, like several other descendants of the 
Dutch settlers of New Jersey, held his upland farm on 
shares with John Lane's tribe of gypsies. Jacobuses and 
Bantas and Koppfs, they made no bones about having 
business dealings with the tribe of English Romanys 
which had followed a regular route, twice a year, from 
Maryland to the upper part of New Jersey, since before 
the beginning of the Revolutionary days. The descen- 
dants of the English settlers, the Hardys, the Lesters, 
the Vincents, and the Farrands, looked with still persist- 
ing English reserve upon the roaro^rs of the woods and 
would have no traffic with them, though a good many of 
their sons and daughters had to know the few Romany 
young people who were left, by twos and threes in the 
towns for occasional years of schooling. 

The tribe, trading in land in the two States which 
they frequented, and breeding horses, was very rich, 
but not very many people knew that. However, they 
were conceded to be shrewd bargainers, and when old 
John bought Martin Debbins' upland and rocky farm, 
one year, with the money that he had made by a lucky 
purchase of a gangling colt whose woner had failed 
rightly to appraise its possibilities as a racer, Boonton 
and Dover and Morristown laughed. 

"Sal away," old John retorted pleasantly to the cashier 
of the bank in Boonton, where the tribe had deposited 
its surplus funds for many years, "but you won't sal 



1 82 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

so much when you dik what I will make out of that 
joke." 

The cashier thereupon looked thoughtful. It might 
well be that he and others would not laugh when they 
saw good fortune which might have been theirs follow- 
ing this genial old outlaw. 

That summer the wagons camped on the Debbins place, 
and old John stocked it with a lot of fine hogs, for 
which the land was especially adapted. They fattened 
on the many acres, wooded with wild nut trees, and 
Jacobus — as keen a bargainer as any Romany, upon 
whom John Lane had had his eye all the time — took 
the farm on shares, and every year thereafter the cashier 
at the bank added a neat little total to the big balance 
which the tribe was rolling up. 

And every year, as the wagons beat up toward Dover 
in July, old John would drive on ahead and spend a 
night of mingled business and pleasure with old Jan, 
reckoning up the profits on the Berkshires for which the 
farm was now famous, and putting down big mugs of 
the " black drink " for which Aunty Alice Lee, John 
Lane's ancient cousin, was equally famous. The amount 
of this fiery and head-splitting liquor which the two old 
men thus got away with was afterward gleefully re- 
counted in the wagons and fearfully whispered of in 
the little Dutch church at Horse's Neck which the Ja- 
cobuses had attended for over a hundred years. 

But never, as wagon after wagon had gone up the 
turning that led to the upward farm, had there been a 
patteran pointing that way. Always, it had shown the 
way onward and downward, to the little hamlet of 
Rockaway, where there was an old and friendly camping 
place, back of the blacksmith shop beyond the church. 
Old John never encouraged the wagons to visit any of 
the properties held by the tribe. 

" Silver blackens the salt of friendship," he would say. 

Dora Parse was driving her own wardo, a very fine 
one which had belonged to her mother. Lester Montague, 
of Sea Tack, Maryland, who makes the wagons of Rom- 
anys for all the Atlantic coast tribes, like his father 
before him, had done an especially good job of it. The 



THE LUBBENY KISS 183 

princess had been certified, by the Romany rites, to old 
John's eldest son, George, for she had flatly refused to 
be married according to the gorgio ways. Not having 
been married a full year, he was not yet entitled to carry 
the heavy, silver-topped stick which is the badge of the 
married man, nor could he demand a place in his wife's 
tent or wagon unless she expressly invited him. Dora 
Parse and George Lane were passionately in love with 
each other, and their meeting and mating had been the 
flowering romance of the tribe, the previous summer. 

The princess, being descended from a very old Romany 
family, as her name showed, was far higher in rank 
than any one in the Lane tribe. Her aristocratic lineage 
showed in the set of her magnificent head, in the small, 
delicate fingers of her hand, and in the fire and richness 
of her eyes. Also, her skin was of the colour of old 
ivory upon which is cast a distant, faint reflection of 
the sunset, and her mouth, thinner than those of most 
Romanys, was of the colour of a ripe pomegranate. 

" A rauni, a puro rauni," all the tribes of the eastern 
coast murmured respectfully, when Dora Parse's name 
was mentioned. 

She was, indeed, a very great lady, but she was a 
flirtatious and headstrong girl. She was one of the few 
modern gypsies who still hold to the unadulterated wor- 
ship of " those." All the members of John Lane's tribe 
were Methodists — had been since before they had mi- 
grated from England. In every wagon, save Dora's, a 
large illustrated Bible lay on a little table, and those 
who could, read them aloud to the rest of a Sunday 
afternoon. This did not mean, however, that the Rom- 
anys had descended to gorgio ways, or that they had 
wholly left off their attentions to " those." They com- 
bined the two. Old John was known as a fervent and 
eloquent leader in prayer at the Wednesday-night prayer 
meetings in the Maryland town where his church mem- 
bership was held, but he had not ceased to carry the " box 
of meanings," as befitted the chief of the tribe. 

This was a very beautifully worked box of pure gold, 
made by the great Nikola of Budapest, whose boxes 
can be found inside the shirt of every gypsy chief, where 






1 84 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

they are always carried. In them are some grains of 
wheat, garnered by moonlight, a peacock's feather, and 
a small silver bell with a coiled snake for a handle. 
When anything is to be decided, a few of the grains are 
taken out and counted. If they are even, the omen 
is bad, but if they are odd, all is well. Old John had 
an elastic and accommodating mind, like all Romanys, 
so he never thought it strange that he should ask the 
"box of meanings" whether or not it was going to storm 
on prayer-meeting nights. 

Dora Parse thought of the box now, and wished that 
she might have the peacock's feather for a minute, so 
that her uneasy sense of impending bad luck would leave 
her. Then she stopped beside a cross-barred gate where 
an old man was evidently waiting for her. 

"Lane was gettin' troubled about yuh," he said, as 
he turned the horses and peered curiously up at her. He 
knew who she was, not only because John Lane had 
said who it was who was late, but because Dora Parse's 
appearance was well known to the whole countryside. 
She was the only member of the tribe who kept to the 
full Romany dress. There were big gold loops in her 
small ears, and on her arms, many gold bracelets, whose 
lightness testified to their freedom from alloy. Her skirt 
was of red, heavily embroidered in blue, and her waist, 
with short sleeves, was of sheer white cloth, with an 
embroidered bolero. Her hair she wore in the ancient 
fashion, in two braids on either side of her face. She 
could well afford to, the chis muttered among themselves. 
Any girl with hair like that 

There was a long lane leading to the barns and to the 
meadow back of them, and there, said Jan, the tribe was 
to camp. As the princess drove along the short dis- 
tance, she swiftly snatched off her little bolero, put it 
on wrong side out, and then snatched it off and righted 
it. That much, at least, she could do to avert ill luck. 
And her heart bounded as she drove in among the other 
wagons, for her husband came running to meet her and 
held out his arms. 

She dropped into them and laid each finger tip, deli- 
cately, in succession, upon his eyes and his ears and 



THE LUBBENY KISS 185 

his mouth, the seal of a betrothal and the sign whereby 
a Romany chal may know that a chi intends to accept 
him when he speaks for her before the tribe ; a sign 
that lovers repeat as a sacred and intimate caress. She 
leaned, hard, into his arms, and he held her, pressing 
the tender, confidential kiss that is given to children 
behind her little ear. 

Dora Parse suddenly ran both hands through his thick 
hair and gave it a little pull. She always did that when 
her spirits rose. Then she turned and looked at the 
scene, and at once she knew that there was to be some 
special occasion. Aunty Alice Lee was seated by a cook- 
ing fire, on which stood the enormous iron pot in which 
the " big meals " were prepared, when the tribe was to 
eat together and not in separate groups, as it usually 
did. There were some boards laid on wooden horses, 
and Pyramus Lee, aunty's grandson, was bringing blocks 
of wood from the woodshed for seats. Dora Parse 
clapped her hands with delight and looked at her 
man. 

" Tetcho! " she exclaimed, approvingly, using the word 
that spells all degrees of satisfaction. " And what is it 
for, stickless one? Is it a talk over silver? " 

" Yes, it is some business," George Lane replied, " but 
first there will be a gillie shoon." 

A gillie shoon has its counterpart in the English word 
" singsong," as it is beginning to be used now, with this 
exception : Romanies have few " fixed " songs. They 
have strains which are set, which every one knows, but a 
gillie shoon means that the performers improvise con- 
tinually ; and in this sense it is a mystic ceremony, never 
held at an appointed time, except a " time of Mul-cerus," 
which really means a sort of religious wave of feeling, 
which strikes tribe after tribe, usually in the spring. 

" Marda has come back," Aunty Lee called out to Dora 
Parse. No one ever called her by her full name of Marda 
Lee, because she was a Lee only by courtesy, having 
been adopted from a distant wagon when both her par- 
ents were killed in a thunderstorm. Marda, wearing the 
trim tailored skirt and waist that were her usual cos- 
tume, was putting the big red tablecloth of the " big 



186 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

meals " on the boards. Dora went quickly toward the 
young girl and embraced her. 

"How is our little scholar?" she asked affectionately. 

" I am very well, Dora Parse, but a little tired," Marda 
answered. 

" And did you receive another paper ? " 

" Yes. I passed my exams. It will save me half a 
year in Dover." 

" That is good," Dora Parse replied, although she had 
only the dimmest idea of what Marda meant. The young 
girl knew that. She had just come from taking a special 
course in Columbia, and she was feeling the breach be- 
tween herself and her people to be especially wide. Be- 
cause of that, perhaps, she also felt more loving toward 
all of them than she ever had, and especially toward 
Dora, about whom she knew something that was most 
alarming. Dora Parse noted the pale, grave face of 
her favourite friend with concern. 

" Smile, bird of my heart," she entreated, " for we are 
to have a gillie shoon. Sit near me, that I may follow 
your heaven voice." 

There was no flattery meant. The Romanys call the 
soprano " the heaven voice," the tenor " the sky voice," 
the contralto " the earth voice," and the basso " the sea 
voice." Dora had a really wonderful earth voice, almost 
as wonderful as Marda's heaven voice, which would have 
been remarkable even among opera singers, and the two 
were known everywhere for their improvisations. In 
answer to the remark of the princess, Marda gave her a 
strange look and said : 

" I shall be near you, Dora Parse. Do not forget." 

Her manner was certainly peculiar, the princess 
thought, as she walked away. But then one never knew 
what Marda was thinking about. Her great education 
set her apart from others. Any chi who habitually read 
herself to sleep over those most puro libros, " The 
Works of William Shakespeare, in Eight Volumes, Com- 
plete, with Glossary and Appendix," must not be judged 
by ordinary standards. The princess knew the full 
title of those puro libros, having painfully spelled it out, 
all one rainy afternoon, in Marda's mother's wagon, 



THE LUBBENY KISS 187 

with repeated assistance and explanations from Marda, 
which had left the princess with a headache. 

Now Aunty Lee took off the heavy iron cover of the 
pot and the odour of Romany duck stew, than which 
there is nothing in the world more appetizing, mingled 
with the sweet fragrance of the drying hay. Aunty 
thrust a fork as long as a poker into the bubbling mass 
and then gave the call that brings the tribe in a hurry. 

" Empo ! " she said in her shrill, cracked voice. 
" Empo ! Empo ! " 

Laughing, teasing, jostling, talking, they all came, spill- 
ing out from the wagons, running from the barn, saun- 
tering in, the lovers, by twos, and sat down before the 
plates heaped high with the duck and the vegetables with 
which it was cooked and the big loaves of Italian bread 
which the Romanys like and always buy as they pass 
through towns where there are Italian bakeries. 

But they sat quiet then, and each one looked toward 
the princess, as politeness demanded, since she was the 
highest in rank among them. 

She drew a sliver of meat from her plate and tossed 
it over her shoulder. 

" To the great r£" she said. 

" To the shule" each one murmured. Then, having 
paid their compliments to the sun and the moon, as all 
good Romanys must before eating, they fell to with 
heartiness. 

When they were through, the mothers and the old men 
cleared away the tables and put the younger children to 
bed in the wagons, and the princess and George Lane 
and Marda and young Adam Lane, George's youngest 
brother, walked up and down, outside the glow from 
the cooking fire, taking the deep, full breaths which 
cleanse the mouth and prepare the soul for the ecstasy 
of song. 

The men took away the table and the lanterns which 
had been standing about, and put out the cooking fire, 
for the big moon was rolling up over the treetops, and 
Romanys sing by her light alone, if they can. Frogs 
were calling in the shallow stretches of the Upper 
Rockaway. People began to sit down in a big circle. 



188 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Then Marda started the gillie shoon. At first you 
could not have been sure whether the sound was far 
or near, for she " covered " her tones, in a way that 
many a gorgio gives years and much silver to learn. 
Then the wonderful tone swelled out, as if an organ 
stop were being pulled open, and one by one, the four 
leaders cast in the dropping notes which followed and 
sustained the theme that Marda was weaving: 

" Lai— la— ai— lala— lalu ! Ai— 1-a-a-a— lalu ! " 

Old John, who had not appeared before, slid into 
the circle, holding by the sleeve a giant of a man who 
seemed to come half unwillingly. Dora Parse saw him, 
and she could not repress the shiver that ran through 
her at the sight of young Jan Jacobus, yet she sang on. 
The deep, majestic basses throbbed out the foundation 
of the great, fuguelike chorus, and the sopranos soared 
and soared until they were singing falsetto, according 
to gorgio standards, only it sounded like the sweetly 
piercing high notes of violins, and the tenors and con- 
traltos wove a garland of glancing melody between the 
two. They were all singing now. Rocking back and 
forth a little, swaying gently from side to side, lovers 
clasped together, mothers in their young sons' arms, and 
fathers clasping their daughters, they sent out to the 
velvet arch above them the heart cry of a race, proud 
and humble, cleanly voluptuous, strong and cruel, pas- 
sionate and loving, elemental like the north wind and 
subtle as the fragrance of the poppy. 

" Ai— lallu ! Ai— lala— lala ! Ai— lallu ! " 

Jan Jacobus sat with his big jaw dropping. Stupid 
boor that he was, he could not have explained the terrify- 
ing effect which this wild music and those tense, uplifting 
faces had upon him, but he would have given anything 
to be back in his mother's kitchen, with the lamp lit 
and the dark, unfamiliar night shut out. 

As suddenly as the singing had begun, it stopped. 
People coughed, moved a little, whispered to one an- 
other. Then George Lane stood upon his feet, pulling 
Dora Parse with him. 

"You see her?" he asked them all, holding out his 
wife in his arms. 



THE LUBBENY KISS 189 

Dora Parse knew then, for he was beginning the 
ritual of the man or woman who accuses a partner, 
before the tribe, of unfaithfulness. He was using the 
most puro Romany jib, for only so can the serious affairs 
of the tribe tribunal be conducted. Dora Parse struggled 
in the strong hands of her man. 

" No ! No ! " she cried. " No— no ! " 

" You see her ? " George Lane repeated to the 
circle. 

" We see her," they answered in a murmur that ran 
around from end to end. 

" She is mine ? " 

" She is yours." 

" What shall be done to her if she has lost the spirit 
of our love? " 

Again Dora Parse furiously struggled, but George 
Lane held her. 

" What shall be done with her? If that is so? " 

Aunty Lee, as the oldest woman present, now took 
up the replies, as was her right and duty: 

" Let her go to that other, if she wishes, and do you 
close your tent and your wagon against her." 

"And if she does not wish?" 

" Then punish her." 

" What shall be done to the man ? " 

" Is he a Romany ? " 

" No." 

Jan Jacobus half started up, but strong hands instantly 
jerked him down. 

" He is a gorgio? " 

" Yes." 

" Do nothing. We do not soil our hands with gorgios. 
Let the woman bear the blame. She is a Romany. She 
should have known better. She is a woman, the wiser 
sex. It is her fault. Let her be punished." 

" Do you all say so ? " George Lane demanded. 

" We say so." Again the rippling murmur. 

Jan Jacobus made a desperate attempt to get on his 
feet, but, for all his strength, he might as well have 
tried to uncoil the folds of a great snake as to unbind 
the many hands that held him, for the Romanys have 



i 9 o PRIZE STORIES 1919 

as many secret ways of restraining a person as the Japa- 
nese. 

George Lane drew his wife tenderly close to him. 

" She shall be punished," he said, " but first she shall 
hear, before you all, that I love her and that I know 
she has not lost the spirit of our love. Her fault was 
born of lightness of heart and vanity, not of evil." 

"What is her fault? Name it," commanded Aunty 
Lee. 

George Lane looked over at Jan. 

" Her fault is that she trusted a gorgio to understand 
the ways of a Romany. For our girls have the spirit 
of love in their eyes, but no man among us would kiss 
a girl unless he received the sign from her. But the 
gorgio men are without honour. To-day, as this woman 
who is mine stopped to talk with a gorgio, among some 
trees where I waited, thinking to enter her wagon there, 
he kissed her, and she kissed him, in return." 

" Not with the lubbeny kiss — not with that kiss ! " 
Dora Parse cried. " May I be lost as Pharaoh was in 
the sea if I speak not the truth ! " 

The solemn oath, never taken by any Romany lightly 
and never falsely sworn to, rang out on the still night 
air. A cold, but firm little hand was slipped into Dora 
Parse's. Marda was near, as she had promised, and 
the hot palm of the princess closed gratefully upon it. 

George Lane drew his wife upon his breast, and over 
her glossy head he looked for encouragement to Aunty 
Lee, who knew what he must do. He was very pale, 
but he must not hesitate. 

" Kiss me, my love, " he said, loudly and clearly, " here 
before my people, that I may punish you. Give me the 
kiss of love, when tongues and lips meet, that you may 
know your fault." 

Now Dora Parse grew very pale, too, and she leaned 
far back against her man's arms, her eyes wide with 
terror. And no one spoke, for in all the history of the 
tribe this thing had never happened before, though every 
one had heard of it. Dora Parse knew that, if she re- 
fused, her oath would be considered false, and she would 
be cast out, not only from her husband's tent and wagon, 



THE LUBBENY KISS 191 

but from all Romany tribes. And slowly she leaned 
forward, and George Lane bent down. 

Jan Jacobus, although he had not understood the words 
of the ritual, thought he knew what had happened. The 
gypsy fool was forgiving his pretty wife. The young 
Dutchman settled back on his haunches, suddenly aware 
that he was no longer held. And then, with all the others, 
he sprang to his feet, for Dora Parse was hanging in 
her husband's arms, with blood pouring from her mouth 
and George Lane was sobbing aloud as he called her 
name. 

" What — what — what happened ? " Jan stammered. 
" Gawd— did he kill her?" 

Old John Lane, his serene face unruffled, turned the 
bewildered and frightened boy toward the lane and 
spoke, in the silky, incisive tones which were half of his 
enchanting charm. 

" Nothing much has happened. One of our girls al- 
lowed a gorgio to kiss her, so her man bit off the tip 
of her tongue. It is not necessary, often, to do it, but it 
is not a serious matter. It will soon heal. She will be able 
to talk — a little. It is really nothing, but I thought you 
might like to see it. It is seldom that gorgios are allowed 
to see a thing like that. 

" Please say to your father that I will spend the 
evening as usual with him. My people will pass on." 



THE TRIAL IN TOM V 
BELCHER'S STORE 

By SAMUEL A. DERIEUX 
From The American Magazine 

IT was a plain case of affinity between Davy Allen and 
Old Man Thornycroft's hound dog Buck. Davy, hur- 
rying home along the country road one cold winter after- 
noon, his mind intent on finishing his chores before dark, 
looking back after passing Old Man Thornycroft's house 
to find Buck trying to follow him — trying to, because 
the old man, who hated to see anybody or anything but 
himself have his way, had chained a heavy block to him 
to keep him from doing what nature had intended him 
to do — roam the woods and poke his long nose in every 
briar patch after rabbits. 

At the sight Davy stopped, and the dog came on, drag- 
ing behind him in the road the block of wood fastened by 
a chain to his collar, and trying at the same time to wag 
his tail. He was tan-coloured, lean as a rail, long-eared, 
a hound every inch ; and Davy was a ragged country boy 
who lived alone with his mother, and who had an old 
single-barrel shotgun at home, and who had in his grave 
boy's eyes a look, clear and unmistakable, of woods and 
fields. 

To say it was love at first sight when that hound, 
dragging his prison around with him, looked up into the 
boy's face, and when that ragged boy who loved the 
woods and had a gun at home looked down into the 
hound's eyes, would hardly be putting it strong enough. 
It was more than love — it was perfect understanding, 
perfect comprehension. " I'm your dog," said the hound's 
upraised, melancholy eyes. " I'll jump rabbits and bring 
them around for you to shoot. I'll make the frosty hills 
echo with music for you. I'll follow you everywhere 

192 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 193 

you go. I'm your dog if you want me — yours to the erld 
of my days." 

And Davy, looking down into those upraised, beseech- 
ing eyes, and at that heavy block of wood, and at the raw 
place the collar had worn on the neck, then at Old Man 
Thornycroft's bleak, unpainted house on the hill, with the 
unhomelike yard and the tumble-down fences, felt a 
great pity, the pity of the free for the imprisoned, and a 
great longing to own, not a dog, but this dog. 

"Want to come along?" he grinned. 

The hound sat down on his haunches, elevated his long 
nose and poured out to the cold winter sky the passion 
and longing of his soul. Davy understood, shook his 
head, looked once more into the pleading eyes, then at the 
bleak house from which this prisoner had dragged him- 
self. 

" That ol' devil ! " he said. " He ain't fitten to own a 
dog. Oh, I wish he was mine ! " 

A moment he hesitated there in the road, then he 
turned and hurried away from temptation. 

" He ain't mine," he muttered. " Oh' dammit all ! " 

But temptation followed him as it has followed many 
a boy and man. A little way down the road was a pas- 
ture through which by a footpath he could cut off half 
a mile of the three miles that lay between him and home. 
Poised on top of the high rail fence that bordered the 
road, he looked back. The hound was still trying to 
follow, walking straddle-legged, lurid down, all entangled 
with the taut chain that dragged the heavy block. The 
boy watched the frantic efforts, pity and longing on 
his face; then he jumped off the fence inside the pasture 
and hurried OO down the hill, face set Straight ahead. 

Me had entered a pine thicket when he heard behind 
the frantic, choking yelps of a dog in dire distress. 

Knowing what had happened, he ran back. Within the 
tnre the hound, only his hind feet touching the ground, 
was struggling and pawing at the fence, lie had jump- 
ed, the block had caught, and was hanging him. Davy 
rushed to him. Breathing fast, he unclicked the chain. 

The block and chain fell on the Other side of the fence. 

and the dog was ivtc. Shrewdly the hov looked hack 



i 9 4 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

up the road; the woods hid the old man's house from 
view, and no one was to be seen. With a little grin of 
triumph he turned and broke into a run down the pasture 
hill toward the pines, the wind blowing gloriously into 
his face, the dog galloping beside him. 

Still running, the two came out into the road that led 
home, and suddenly Davy stopped short and his face 
flushed. Yonder around the bend on his grey mare 
jogged Squire Kirby toward them, his pipe in his mouth, 
his white beard stuck cozily inside the bosom of his big 
overcoat. There was no use to run, no use to try to make 
the dog hide, no use to try to hide himself — the old man 
had seen them both. Suppose he knew whose dog 
this was! Heart pounding, Davy waited beside the 
road. 

Mr. Kirby drew rein opposite them and looked down 
with eyes that twinkled under his bushy white brows. 
He always stopped to ask the boy how his mother was, 
and how they were getting along. Davy had been to 
his house many a time with eggs and chickens to sell, 
or with a load of seasoned oak wood. Many a time he 
had warmed before Mr. Kirby's fire in the big living- 
and bedroom combined, and eaten Mrs. Kirby's fine 
white cake covered with frosting. Never before had he 
felt ill at ease in the presence of the kindly old man. 

" That's a genuine hound you got there, son, ain't it ? " 

" Yes, sir, " said Davy. 

"Good for rabbits an' 'possums an' coons, eh?" 

" He shore is ! " 

" Well, next big fat 'possum you an' him ketch, you 
bring that 'possum 'round an' me an' you'll talk business. 
Maybe we'll strike a bargain. Got any good sweet po- 
tatoes? Well, you bring four or five bushels along to 
eat that 'possum with. Haulin' any wood these days? 
Bring me a load or two of good, dry oak — pick it out, 
son, hear? How's your ma? All right? That's good. 
Here " 

He reached deep down in a pocket of his enormous 
faded overcoat, brought out two red apples, and leaned 
down out of his saddle, that creaked under the strain 
of his weight. 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 195 

" Try one of 'cm yourself, an' take one of 'em home to 
your ma. Git up, Mag ! " 

He jogged on down the road, and the boy, sobered, 
walked on. One thing was certain, though, Mr. Kirby 
hadn't known whose dog this was. What difference did 
it make, anyhow ? He hadn't stolen anything. He 
couldn't let a dog choke to death before his eyes. What 
did O ld Man Thornycroft care about a dog, anyhow, 
the hard-hearted old skin-flint ! 

He remembered the trouble his mother had had when 
his father died and Old Man Thornycroft pushed her 
for a note he had given. 1 !e had heard people talk about 
it at the time, and he remembered how white his mother's 
face had been. Old Man Thornycroft had refused to 
wait, and his mother had had to sell five acres of the best 
land on the little farm to pay the note. It was after 
the sale that Mr. Kirby, who lived five miles away, had 
ridden over. 

" Why didn't you let me know, Mrs. Allen ! " he had 
demanded. " I would have loaned you the money — 
gladly, gladly! " lie had risen from the fire and pulled 
on the same- overcoat he wore now. It was faded then, 
and that was two y o. 

It was sunset whin Davy reached home to find his 
mother out in the clean swept yard picking up chips 
in her apron. From the bedroom window of the little 
one-storied nnpainted house came a bright red -low. and 

from the kitchen the smell of cooking meat. Mis mother 
straightened up from her task with a -mile when with his 
new found partner he entered tin- yard. 
" Why, I )a\ v." he a Iced, " where did you get him? " 

" He— he JUSI followed me, Ma. " 

" lint whose dog is he? " 

lie's mine, Ma he just took np with mi 

" Where, Davj 

"Oh, way hack down (lie road in a pasture." 

lie inn t lull >ng i' > imebody. 
I !<-\ just (l oT hound d< all he Is, Lots 

of hounds don't belong to nobody everybody knows that, 

Ma. Look at him. Ma. Mighty nigh Starved t<» death 
Lemme keep linn. We cm feed him on | m 



l 9 6 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

sleep under the house. Me an' him will keep you in rab- 
bits. You won't have to kill no more chickens. Nobody 
don't want him but me ! " 

From her gaunt height she looked down into the boy's 
eager eyes, then at the dog beside him. "All right, son," 
she said. "If he don't belong to anybody. " 

That night Davy alternately whistled and talked to the 
dog beside him as he husked the corn he had raised with 
his own hands, and chopped the wood he had cut and 
hauled — for since his father's death he had kept things 
going. He ate supper in a sort of haze ; he hurried out 
with a tin plate of scraps ; he fed the grateful, hungry 
dog on the kitchen steps. He begged some vaseline from 
his mother and rubbed it on the sore neck. Then he 
got two or three empty gunny sacks out of the corncrib, 
crawled under the house to a warm place beside the chim- 
ney, and spread them out for a bed. He went into the 
house whistling; he didn't hear a word of the chapter 
his mother read out of the Bible. Before he went to 
bed in the shed-room, he raised the window. 

"You all right, old feller?" he called. 

Underneath the house he heard the responsive tap- 
tap of a tail in the dry dust. He climbed out of his 
clothes, leaving them in a pile in the middle of the floor, 
tumbled into bed, and pulled the covers high over 
him. 

"Golly!" he said. "Oh, golly!" 

Next day he hunted till sundown. The Christmas 
holidays were on and there was no thought of school. 
He went only now and then, anyway, for since his father's 
death there was too much for him to do at home. He 
hunted in the opposite direction from Old Man Thorny- 
croft's. It was three miles away ; barriers of woods and 
bottoms and hills lay between, and the old man seldom 
stirred beyond the boundaries of his own farm; but Davy 
wanted to be on the safe side. 

There were moments, though, when he thought of the 
old man, and wondered if he had missed the dog and 
whether he would make any search for him. There 
were sober moments, too, when he thought of his mother 
and Mr. Kirby, and wished he had told them the truth. 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 197 

But then the long-drawn bay of the hound would come 
from the bottoms ahead, and he would hurry to the sum- 
mons, his face flushed mid eager. The music of the dog 
running, the sound of the shots, and his own triumphant 
yells started many an echo among the silent frosted hills 
that day. He came home with enough meat to last a 
week — six rabbits. As he hurried into the yard he held 
them up for the inspection of his mother, who was feed- 
ing the chickens. 

u He's the finest rabbit dog ever was, Ma! Oh, golly, 
he can follow a trail! 1 never see anything like it, Ma, 
I never did! I'll skin 'em an' clean 'em after supper. 
You ought to have saw him, Ma! Golly!" 

And while he chopped the wood and milked the cow 

and fed the mule, and skinned the rabbits, he saw other 

ahead like this, and whistled and sane and talked 

to the hound, who followed close at his heels every step 

he took. 

Then one afternoon, while he was patching the lot 

fei th Buck .running himself near the woodpile. 

came ( >ld Man Thornycroft. Davy recognized his buggy 

as it turned the bend in the road, lie quickly dropped 

tools, called Buck to him and got behind the house 

where hi- could without being seen. The bu 

ipped in the road, and the old man, hi- hard, pinched 

face wo;' whip in his hand, came down 

:k and called Mrs. Allen out on the porch. 
I JU 1 come to tell vnu," lie cried, "that vur boy 

Davy run off with my doc las 1 Friday evenin'l There 

ain't no USC to it. I know all about it. I Been 

1 when he 1 I in front of the b I found 

to the d< de the road. 1 

I Squire Jim Kirby talkin' to some men in Tom Bel- 
very mornin'; just happened to overhear 
him as 1 come in. ' \ boy an ' ! 'is f 

combination in nat Then he went on to 

!• 11 about your boy an 1 b tan dog. He had met 'em in 

I Met 'em when ? Last Fi venin', ( )h. 

ain't no u deny it, Mi 1. Allen ' Your boy 

I ),tv\ be sioU my <l I " 

"Mr. Thornycroi D could not see Mi mother, 



198 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

but he could hear her voice tremble — " he did not know 
whose dog it was !" 

" He didn't? He didn't? " yelled the old man. "An' 
him a boy that knows ever' dog for ten miles around! 
Right in front of my house, I tell you — that's where he 
picked him up — that's where he tolled him off ! Didn't I 
tell you, woman, I seen him pass? Didn't I tell you I 
found the block down the road? Didn't know whose 
dog it was ? Ridiculous, ridiculous ! Call him, ask him, 
face him with it. Likely he'll lie — but you'll see his 
face. Call him, that's all I ask. Call him ! " 

"Davy!" called Mrs. Allen. "Davy!" 

Just a moment the boy hesitated. Then he went 
around the house. The hound stuck very close to him, 
eyes full of terror, tail tucked as he looked at the old 
man. 

" There he is — with my dog ! " cried the old man. " You 
didn't know whose dog it was, did you, son ? Eh ? You 
didn't know, now, did you ? " 

"Yes!" cried the boy "I knowed!" 

" Hear that, Mrs. Allen? Did he know? What do you 
say now? He stole my dog, didn't he? That's what he 
done, didn't he ? Answer me, woman ! You come here ! " 
he yelled, his face livid, and started, whip raised, to- 
ward boy and dog. 

There were some smooth white stones the size of 
hen eggs arranged around a flower bed in the yard, and 
Davy stood near these stones — and now, quick as a 
flash, he stooped down and picked one up. 

"You stop ! " he panted, his face very white. 

His mother cried out and came running toward him, 
but Thornycroft had stopped. No man in his right 
mind wants to advance on a country boy with a rock. 
Goliath tried it once. 

" All right ! " screamed the old man. " You steal first — 
then you try to assault an old man ! I didn't come here 
to raise no row. I just came here to warn you, Mrs. 
Allen. I'll have the law on that boy — I'll have the law 
on him before another sun sets ! " 

He turned and hurried toward the buggy. Davy drop- 
ped the rock. Mrs. Allen stood looking at the old miser, 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 199 

who was clambering into his buggy, with a sort of hor- 
ror. Then she ran toward the boy. 

" Oh, Davy ! run after him. Take the dog to him. 
He's terrible, Davy, terrible ! Run after him — anything — 
anything ! " 

But the boy looked up at her with grim mouth and hard 
eyes. 

" I ain't a-goin' to do it, Ma ! " he said. 

It was after supper that very night that the summons 
came. Bob Kelley, rural policeman, brought it. 

" Me an' Squire Kirby went to town this mornin'," he 
said, "to look up some things about court in the mornin.' 
This evenin' we run into Old Man Thornycroft on the 
street, lookin' for us. He was awful excited. He had 
been to Mr. Kirby 's house, an' found out Mr. Kirby was 
in town, an' followed us. He wanted a warrant swore 
out right there. Mr. Kirby tried to argue with him, but it 
warn't no use. So at last Mr. Kirby turned to me. 
'You go on back, Bob,' he said. 'This'll give me some 
more lookin' up to do. Tell my wife I'll just spend the 
night with Judge Fowler, an' git back in time for court 
in Belcher's sto' in the mornin'. An', Bob, you just stop 
by Mrs. Allen's — she's guardian of the boy — an' tell her 
I say to bring him to Belcher's sto' to-morrow mornin' at 
nine. You be there, too, Mr. Thornycroft — an,' by the 
way, bring that block of wood you been talkin' about.' " 

That was all the squire had said, declared the rural 
policeman. No, he hadn't sent any other message — 
just said he would read up on the case. The rural 
policeman went out and closed the door behind him. It 
had been informal, hap-hazard, like the life of the com- 
munity in which they lived. But, for all that, the law had 
knocked at the door of the Widow Allen, and left a 
white-faced mother and a bewildered boy behind. 

They tried to resume their usual employments. Mrs. 
Allen sat down beside the table, picked up her sewing 
and put her glasses on, but her hands trembled when she 
tried to thread the needle. Davy sat on a split-bottom 
chair in the corner, his feet up on the rungs, and tried 
to be still; but his heart was pounding fast and there 
was a lump in his throat. Presently he got up and 



200 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

went out of doors, to get in some kindling on the back 
porch before it snowed, he told his mother. But he went 
because he couldn't sit there any longer, because he was 
about to explode with rage and grief and fear and bit- 
terness. 

He did not go toward the woodpile — what difference 
did dry kindling make now? At the side of the house 
he stooped down and softly called Buck. The hound 
came to him, wriggling along under the beams, and he 
leaned against the house and lovingly pulled the briar- 
torn ears. A long time he stayed there, feeling on his 
face already the fine mist of snow. To-morrow the 
ground would be white ; it didn't snow often in that coun- 
try ; day after to-morrow everybody would hunt rabbits — 
everybody but him and Buck. 

It was snowing hard when at last he went back into 
the warm room, so warm that he pulled off his coat. 
Once more he tried to sit still in the split-bottom chair. 
But there is no rage that consumes like the rage of a boy. 
In its presence he is so helpless ! If he were a man, 
thought Davy, he would go to Old Man Thornycroft's 
house that night, call him out, and thrash him in the road. 
If he were a man, he would curse, he would do something. 
He looked wildly about the room, the hopelessness of it 
all coming over him in a wave. Then suddenly, be- 
cause he wasn't a man, because he couldn't do what he 
wanted to do, he began to cry, not as a boy cries, but 
more as a man cries, in shame and bitterness, his should- 
ers shaken by great convulsive sobs, his head buried in his 
hands, his fingers running through his tangled mop of 
hair. 

" Davy, Davy ! " The sewing and the scissors slipped 
to the floor. His mother was down on her knees beside 
him, one arm about his shoulders, trying to pry his face 
from his hands, trying to look into his eyes. "You're 
my man, Davy! You're the only man, the only help 
I've got. You're my life, Davy. Poor boy ! Poor child ! " 

He caught hold of her convulsively, and she pressed 
his head against her breast. Then he saw that she was 
crying, and he grew quiet, and wiped his eyes with his 
ragged coat sleeve. 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 201 

" I'm all right now, Ma, " he said ; but he looked at her 
wildly. 

She did not follow him into his little unceiled bedroom. 
She must have known that he had reached that age 
where no woman could help him. It must be a man now 
to whom he could pin his faith. And while he lay- 
awake, tumbling and tossing, along with bitter thoughts 
of Old Man Thornycroft came other bitter thoughts of 
Mr. Kirby, whom, deep down in his boy's heart, he had 
worshipped — Mr. Kirby, who had sided with Old Man 
Thornycroft and sent a summons with — no message for 
him. " God ! " he said. " God ! " And pulled his hair, 
down there under the covers; and he hated the law that 
would take a dog from him and give it back to that old 
man — the law that Mr. Kirby represented. 

It was still snowing when next morning he and his 
mother drove out of the yard and he turned the head of 
the reluctant old mule in the direction of Belcher's store. 
A bitter wind cut their faces, but it was not as bitter 
as the heart of the boy. Only twice on that five-mile 
ride did he speak. The first time was when he looked 
back to find Buck, whom they had left at home, thinking 
he would stay under the house on such a day, following 
very close behind the buggy. 

Might as well let him come on, " said the boy. 

The second time was when they came in sight of 
Belcher's store, dim yonder through the swirling snow. 
Then he looked up into his mother's face. 

" Ma, " he said grimly, " I ain't no thief ! " 

She smiled as bravely as she could with her stiffened 
face and with the tears so near the surface. She told 
him that she Knew it, and that everybody knew it. But 
there was no answering smile on the boy's set face. 

'I lie squire's gray mare, standing huddled up in the 
midst of other horses and of buggies under the shed 
near the store, told that court had probably already con- 
vened. Hands numb, the boy hitched the old mule to th" 
only rack left under tin- shed, then made Buck lie down 
under the buggy. Heart pounding, he went up on the 
store porch with his mother and pushed the door Open. 

There was a commotion when they entered. The 



202 PRIZE STORIES 19 19 

men, standing about the pot-bellied stove, their overcoats 
steaming, made way for them. Old Man Thornycroft 
looked quickly and triumphantly around. In the rear of 
the store the squire rose from a table, in front of which 
was a cleared space. 

" Pull up a chair nigh the stove for Mrs. Allen, Tom 
Belcher, " he said. " I'm busy tryin' this chicken-stealin' 
nigger. When I get through, Mrs. Allen, if you're ready 
I'll call your case." 

Davy stood beside his mother while the trial of the 
negro proceeded. Some of the fight had left him now, 
crowded down here among all these grown men, and 
especially in the presence of Mr. Kirby, for it is hard for 
a boy to be bitter long. But with growing anxiety he 
heard the sharp questions the magistrate asked the negro ; 
he saw the frown of justice ; he heard the sentence 
" sixty days on the gang. " And the negro had stolen only 
a chicken — and he had run off with another man's 
dog! 

" The old man's rough this mornin'," a man whispered 
to another above him ; and he saw the furtive grin on the 
face of Old Man Thornycroft, who leaned against the 
counter, waiting. 

His heart jumped into his mouth when after a sil- 
ence the magistrate spoke : " Mr. Thornycroft, step for- 
ward, sir. Put your hand on the book here. Now 
tell us about that dog of yours that was stole." 

Looking first at the magistrate, then at the crowd, as if 
to impress them also, the old man told in a high-pitched, 
excited voice all the details — his seeing Davy Allen pass 
in front of his house last Friday afternoon, his missing 
the dog, his finding the block of wood down the road 
beside the pasture fence, his over-hearing the squire's 
talk right here in the store, his calling on Mrs. Allen, the 
boy's threatening him. 

" I tell you," he cried, " that's a dangerous character — 
that boy!" 

" Is that all you've got to say ? " asked the squire. 

" It's enough, ain't it? " demanded Thornycroft angrily. 

The squire nodded and spat into the cuspidor between 
his feet. " I think so," he said quietly. " Stand aside. 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 203 

Davy Allen, step forward. Put your hand on the book 
here, son. Davy, how old are you ? " 

The boy gulped. " Thirteen years old, goin' on fo'- 
teen." 

" You're old enough, son, to know the nater of the 
oath you're about to take. For over two years you've 
been the mainstay an* support of your mother. You've 
had to carry the burdens and responsibilities of a man, 
Davy. The testimony you give in this case will be the 
truth, the whole truth an' nothin' but the truth, so help 
you God. What about it?" 

Davy nodded, his face very white. 

" All right now. Tell us about it. Talk loud so we 
can hear — all of us." 

The boy's eyes never left Mr. Kirby's while he talk- 
ed. Something in them held him, fascinated him, over- 
awed him. Very large and imposing he looked there 
behind his little table, with his faded old overcoat on, 
and there was no sound in the room but the boy's clear 
voice. 

" An' you come off an' left the dog at first?" 

"Yes, sir," 

" An' you didn't unfasten the chain from the block till 
the dog got caught in the fence ? " 

"No, sir, I didn't." 

"Did you try to get him to follow you then?" 

" No, sir, he wanted to. " 

" Ask him, Mr. Kirby, " broke in Thornycroft angrily, 
" if he tried to drive him home ! " 

" I'll ask him whatever seems fit an' right to me, sir," 
said Mr. Kirby. " What did you tell your ma, Davy, 
when you got home ? " 

" I told her he followed me." 

" Did you tell her whose dog he was? " 

"No, sir." 

"Ain't that what you ought to have done? Ain't 
it?" 

Davy hesitated. " Yes, sir." 

There was a slight shuffling movement among the 
men crowded about. Somebody cleared his throat. Mr. 
Kirby resumed. 



204 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" This block you been tellin' about — how was it fast- 
ened to the dog ? " 

" Thar was a chain fastened to the block by a staple. 
The other end was fastened to the collar." 

" How heavy do you think that block was ? " 

" About ten pound, I reckon. " 

" Five, " broke in Old Man Thornycroft with a sneer. 

Mr. Kirby turned to him. " You fetched it with you, 
didn't you ? I told you to. It's evidence. Bob Kelley, 
go out to Mr. Thornycroft's buggy an' bring that block 
of wood into court." 

The room was silent while the rural policeman was 
gone. Davy still stood in the cleared space before Mr. 
Kirby, his ragged overcoat on, his tattered hat in his 
hand, breathing fast, afraid to look at his mother. Every- 
body turned when Kelley came in with the block of wood. 
Everbody craned their necks to watch, while at the 
magistrate's order Kelley weighed the block of wood 
on the store's scales, which he put on the magistrate's 
table 

" Fo'teen punds, " said Mr. Kirby. " Take the scales 
away." 

' It had rubbed all the skin off'n the dog's neck," broke 
in Davy impulsively. " It was all raw an' bleedin'," 

" Aw, that ain't so ! " cried Thornycroft. 

" Is the dog out there?" asked Mr. Kirby. 

" Yes, sir, under the buggy. " 

' Bob Kelley, you go out an' bring that dog into court." 

The rural policeman went out, and came back with the 
hound, who looked eagerly up from one face to the other, 
f hen, seeing Davy, came to him and stood against him, 
still looking around with that expression of melancholy 
on his face that a hound dog always wears except when 
he's in action. 

"Bring the dog here, son!" commanded Mr. Kirby. 
He examined the raw place on the neck. "Any of you 
gentlemen care to take a look ? " he asked. 

" It was worse than that," declared Davy, " till I 
rubbed vase-leen on it." 

Old Man Thornycroft pushed forward, face quiver- 
ing. " What's all this got to do with the boy stealin' 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 205 

the dog ? " he demanded. " That's what I want to 
know — what's it got to do ? " 

" Mr. Thornycrof t, " said Kirby, " at nine o'clock this 
mornin' this place ceased to be Tom Belcher's sto', an' 
become a court of justice. Some things are seemly in 
a court, some not. You stand back there ! " 

The old man stepped back to the counter, and stood 
julling his chin, his eyes running over the crowd of faces. 

" Davy Allen," spoke Mr. Kirby, " you stand back there 
with your ma. Tom Belcher make way for him. And, 
Tom, s'pose you put another stick of wood in that stove 
an' poke up the fire." He took off his glasses, blew on 
them, polished them with his handkerchief and read- 
justed them. Then, leaning back in his chair, he spoke. 

" Gentlemen, from the beginnin' of time, as fur back 
as records go, a dog's been the friend, companion, an' 
protector of man. Folks say he come from the wolf, 
but that ain't no reflection on him, seein' that we come 
from monkeys ourselves, an' I believe, takin' all things 
into account, I'd as soon have a wolf for a ancestor as 
a monkey, an' a little ruther. 

" Last night in the libery of my old friend Judge 
Fowler in town, I looked up some things about this dog 
question. I find that there have been some queer de- 
cisions handed down by the courts, showin' that the law 
does recognize the fact that a dog is different from other 
four-footed critters. For instance, it has been held 
that a dog has a right to protect not only his life but his 
dignity ; that where a man worries a dog beyond what 
would be reasonable to expect any self respectin' critter 
to stand, that dog has a right to bite that man, an' that 
man can't collect any damages — provided the bitin' is 
done at the time of the worryin' an' in sudden heat an* 
passion. That has been held in the courts, gentlemen. 
The law that holds for man holds for dogs. 

" Another thing: If the engineer of a railroad train 
sees a cow or a horse or a sheep on the track, or a hog, 
he must stop the train or the road is liable for any 
damage done 'em. But if he sets a man walkin' along 
the track, he has a right to presume that the man, bein' a 
critter of more or less intelligence, will git off, an' he is 



206 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

not called on to stop under ordinary circumstances. The 
same thing holds true of a dog. The engineer has a 
right to presume that the dog, bein' a critter of intelli- 
gence, will get off the track. Here again the law is the 
same for dog an' man. 

"But — if the engineer has reason to believe that the 
man's mind is took up with some object of an engrossin' 
nater, he is supposed to stop the train till the man comes 
to himself an' looks around. The same thing holds true 
of a dog. If the engineer has reason to suspect that the 
dog's mind is occupied with some engrossin' topic, he 
must stop the train. That case has been tested in this 
very state, where a dog was on the track settin' a covey 
of birds in the adjoinin' field. The railroad was held 
responsible for the death of that dog, because the engin- 
eer ought to have known by the action of the dog that 
his mind was on somethin' else beside railroad trains an' 
locomotives." 

Again the magistrate spat into the cuspidor between 
his feet. Davy, still watching him, felt his mother's grip 
on his arm. Everyone was listening so closely that the 
whispered sneering comment of Old Man Thornycroft to 
the man next to him was audible, " What's all this got to 
do with the case ? " 

" The p'int I'm gettin' to is this, " went on Mr. Kirby, 
not paying attention to him : "a dog is not like a cow 
or a horse or any four-footed critter. He's a individual, 
an' so the courts have held in spirit if not in actual words. 
Now this court of mine here in Tom Belcher's sto, ain't 
like other courts. I have to do the decidin' myself ; I 
have to interpret the true spirit of the law, without tech- 
nicalities an' quibbles such as becloud it in other an' 
higher courts. An' I hold that since a dog is de facto 
an' de jure an individual, he has a right to life, liberty an' 
the pursuit of happiness, 

" Therefore, gentlemen, I hold that that houn' dog, 
Buck, had a perfect right to follow that boy, Davy Allen, 
there; an' I hold that Davy Allen was not called on to 
drive that dog back, or interfere in any way with that 
dog followin' him if the dog so chose. You've heard the 
evidence of the boy. You know, an' I know, he has 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 207 

spoke the truth this day, an' there ain't no evidence to 
the contrary. The boy did not entice the dog. He even 
went down the road, leavin' him behind. He run back 
only when the dog was in dire need an' chokin' to death. 
He wasn't called on to put that block an' chain back on 
the dog. He couldn't help it if the dog followed him. 
He no more stole that dog than I stole him. He's no more 
a thief than I am. I dismiss this case, Mr. Thornycroft, 
this case you've brought against Davy Allen. I declare 
him innocent of the charge of theft. I set it down right 
here on the records of this court." 

" Davy ! " gasped Mrs. Allen. " Davy ! " 

But, face working, eyes blazing, Old Man Thornycroft 
started forward, and the dog, panting, shrank between 
boy and mother. " Jim Kirby ! " cried the old man, stop- 
ping for a moment in the cleared space. " You're magis- 
trate. What you say goes. But that dog thar — he's 
mine ! He's my property — mine by law ! " He jerked a 
piece of rope out of his overcoat pocket and came on to- 
ward the cowering dog. " Tom Belcher, Bob Kelley ! 
Stop that dog ! He's mine ! " 

" Davy ! " Mrs. Allen was holding the boy. " Don't— 
don't say anything. You're free to go home. Your re- 
cord's clear. The dog's his ! " 

" Hold on ! " Mr. Kirby had risen from his chair. " You 
come back here, Mr. Thornycroft. This court's not ad- 
journed yet. If you don't get back, I'll stick a fine to 
you for contempt you'll remember the rest of your days. 
You stand where you are, sir ! Right there ! Don't 
move till I'm through ! " 

Quivering, the old man stood where he was. Mr. 
Kirby sat down, face flushed, eyes blazing. " Punch up 
that fire, Tom Belcher, " he said. " I ain't through yet." 

The hound came trembling back to Davy, looked up in 
his face, licked his hand, then sat down at the side op- 
posite his former master, looking around now and then 
at the old man, terror in his eyes. In the midst of a 
deathly silence the magistrate resumed. 

" What I was goin' to say, gentlemen, is this : I'm 
not only magistrate, I'm an officer in an organization that 
you country fellers likely don't know of, an organization 



208 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

known as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals. As such an officer it's my duty to report an' 
bring to trial any man who treats a dumb brute in a cruel 
an' inhuman way. Mr. Thornycroft, judgin' by the 
looks of that houn', you ain't give him enough to eat to 
keep a cat alive — an' a cat, we all know, don't eat much, 
just messes over her vittles. You condemned that po' 
beast, for no fault of his own, to the life of a felon. A 
houn' that ain't happy at best, he's melancholy ; an' a 
houn' that ain't allowed to run free is of all critters the 
wretchedest. This houn's neck is rubbed raw. God only 
knows what he's suffered in mind an' body. A man that 
would treat a dog that way ain't fitten to own one. An' 
I hereby notify you that, on the evidence of this boy, an' 
the evidence before our eyes, I will indict you for breakin' 
the law regardin' the treatment of animals ; an' I notify 
you, furthermore, that as magistrate I'll put the law on 
you for that same thing. An' it might be interestin' to 
you to know, sir, that I can fine you as much as five hun- 
dred dollars, or send you to jail for one year, or both, if 
I see fit — an' there ain't no tellin' but what I will see fit, 
sir." 

He looked sternly at Thornycroft. 

" Now I'm goin' to make a proposition that I advise 
you to jump at like you never jumped at anything before. 
If you will give up that houn' Buck — to me, say, or to 
anybody I decide will be kind to him — I will let the mat- 
ter drop. If you will go home like a peaceable citizen, 
vou won't hear no more about it from me ; but if you 
don't—" 

" Git out of my way ! " cried Old Man Thornycroft. 
" All of you ! I'm goin'— I'm goin' ! " 

" Hold on ! " said Mr. Kirby, when he had got almost 
to the door. " Do you, in the presence of these witnesses, 
turn over this dog to me, relinquishin' all claims to him, 
on the conditions named ? Answer Yes or No ? " 

There was a moment's silence ; then the old man cried 
out: 

' Take the old hound ! He ain't wuth the salt in his 
vittles ! " 

He jerked the door open. 



THE TRIAL IN TOM BELCHER'S STORE 209 

" Yes or no ? " called Mr. Kirby inexorably. 

" Yes ! " yelled the old man, and slammed the door be- 
hind him. 

" One minute, gentlemen, " said Mr. Kirby, rising from 
the table and gathering his papers and records together. 
" Just one more thing : If anybody here has any evidence, 
or knows of any, tendin' to show that this boy Davy Al- 
len is not the proper person to turn over a houn' dog to, 
I hope he will speak up. " He waited a moment. " In 
the absence of any objections, an' considerin' the evidence 
that's been given here this mornin', I think I'll just let 
that dog go back the way he come. Thank you, gentle- 
men. Court's adjourned! " 



PORCELAIN CUPS 

By JAMES BRANCH CABELL 
From Century Magazine 

I 

Of Greatness Intimately Viewed 

Cf /^VH, but they are beyond praise," said Cynthia 
V>/ Allonby, enraptured, " and certainly you should 
have presented them to the Queen." 

" Her majesty already possesses a cup of that ware, " 
replied Lord Pevensey. " It was one of her New Year's 
gifts, from Robert Cecil. Hers is, I believe, not quite so 
fine as either of yours ; but then, they tell me, there is 
not the like of this pair in England, nor indeed on the 
hither side of Cataia." 

He set the two pieces of Chinese pottery upon the 
shelves in the south corner of the room. These cups 
were of that sea-green tint called celadon, with a very 
wonderful glow and radiance. Such oddities were the 
last vogue at court in this year of grace 1593: and Cyn- 
thia could not but speculate as to what monstrous sum 
Lord Pevensey had paid for this his last gift to her. 

Now he turned, smiling, a really superb creature in 
his blue and gold. " I had another message from the 
Queen " 

" George," Cynthia said, with fond concern, " it fright- 
ens me to see you thus foolhardy, in tempting alike the 
Queen's anger and the Plague." 

" Eh, as goes the Plague, it spares nine out of ten," 
he answered, lightly. " The Queen, I grant you, is an- 
other pair of sleeves, for an irritated Tudor spares 
nobody. " 

But Cynthia Allonby kept silence, and did not exactly 

2IO 



PORCELAIN CUPS 211 

smile, while she appraised her famous young kinsman. 
She was flattered by, and a little afraid of, the gay self- 
confidence which led anybody to take such chances. Two 
weeks ago it was that the painted terrible old Queen had 
named Lord Pevensey to go straightway into France, 
where rumour had it, King Henri was preparing to re- 
nounce the Reformed Religion, and making his peace 
with the Pope : and for two weeks Pevensey had linger- 
ed, on one pretence or another, at his house in London, 
with the Plague creeping about the city like an invisible 
incalculable flame, and the Queen asking questions at 
Windsor. Of all the monarchs that had ever reigned 
in England, Elizabeth was the least used to having her 
orders disregarded. Meanwhile Lord Pevensey came 
every day to the Marquis of Falmouth's lodgings at 
Deptford; and every day Lord Pevensey pointed out to 
the marquis's daughter that Pevensey, whose wife had 
died in childbirth a year back, did not intend to go into 
France, for nobody could foretell how long a stay, as a 
widower. Certainly it was all very flattering . . . 

" Yes, and you would be an excellent match," said 
Cynthia, aloud, "if. that were all. And yet, what must 
I reasonably expect in marrying, sir, the famous Earl of 
Pevensey ? " 

" A great deal of love and petting, my dear. And 11 
there were anything else to which you had a fancy, I 
would get it for you." 

Her glance went to those lovely cups and lingered fond- 
ly. "Yes, dear Master Generosity, if it could be pur- 
chased or manufactured, you would get it for me " 

"If it exists I will get it for you," he declared. 

" I think that it exists. But I am not learned enough 
to know what it is. George, if I married you I would 
have money and fine clothes and soft hours and many 
lackeys to wait on me, and honour from all men. And 
you would be kind to me, I know, when you returned 
from the day's work at Windsor — or Holyrood or the 
Louvre. But do you not see that I would always be to 
you only a rather costly luxury, like those cups, which 
the Queen's minister could afford to keep for his hours 
of leisure?" 



212 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

He answered : " You are all in all to me. You know it. 
Oh, very well do you know and abuse your power, you 
adorable and lovely baggage, who have kept me danc- 
ing attendance for a fortnight, without ever giving me an 
honest yes or no. " He gesticulated. " Well, but life 
is very dull in Deptford village, and it amuses you to 
twist a Queen's adviser around your finger! I see it 
plainly, you minx, and I acquiesce because it delights 
me to give you pleasure, even at the cost of some dignity. 
Yet I may no longer shirk the Queen's business, — no, 
not even to amuse you, my dear." 

"You said you had heard from her — again?" 

" I had this morning my orders, under Glorianna's own 
fair hand, either to depart to-morrow into France or 
else to come to-morrow to Windsor. I need not say that 
in the circumstances I consider France the more whole- 
some." 

Now the girl's voice was hurt and wistful. " So, for 
the thousandth time, is it proven the Queen's business 
means more to you than I do. Yes, certainly it is just 
as I said, George." 

He observed, unruffled : " My dear, I scent unreason. 
This is a high matter. If the French King compounds 
with Rome, it means war for Protestant England. Even 
you must see that." 

She replied, sadly : " Yes, even I ! oh, certainly, my 
lord, even a half-witted child of seventeen can perceive 
as much as that." 

" I was not speaking of half-witted persons, as I re- 
member. Well, it chances that I am honoured by the 
friendship of our gallant Bearnais, and am supposed to 
have some claim upon him, thanks to my good fortune 
last year in saving his life from the assassin Barriere. 
It chances that I may perhaps become, under providence, 
the instrument of preserving my fellow countrymen from 
much grief and trumpet-sounding and throat-cutting. In- 
stead of pursuing that chance, two weeks ago — as was 
my duty — I have dangled at your apron-strings, in the 
vain hope of softening the most variable and hardest 
heart in the world. Now, clearly, I have not the right 
to do that any longer." 



PORCELAIN CUPS 213 

She admired the ennobled, the slightly rapt look which, 
she knew, denoted that George Bulmer was doing his 
duty as he saw it, even in her disappointment. " No, 
you have not the right. You are wedded to your state- 
craft, to your patriotism, to your self-advancement, or 
christen it what you will. You are wedded, at all events, 
to your man's business. You have not the time for such 
trifles as giving a maid that foolish and lovely sort of 
wooing to which every maid looks forward in her heart 
of hearts. Indeed, when you married the first time it was 
a kind of infidelity ; and I am certain that poor dear 
mouse-like Mary must have felt that often and over again. 
Why, do you not see, George, even now, that your wife 
will always come second to your real love ? " 

" In my heart, dear sophist, you will always come first. 
But it is not permitted that any loyal gentleman devote 
every hour of his life to sighing and making sonnets, 
and to the general solacing of a maid's loneliness in this 
dull little Deptford. Nor would you, I am sure, desire 
me to do so." 

" I hardly know what I desire, " she told him ruefully. 
" But I know that when you talk of your man's business 
I am lonely and chilled and far away from you. And I 
know that I cannot understand more than half your fine 
high notions about duty and patriotism and serving Eng- 
land and so on," the girl declared : and she flung wide 
her lovely little hands, in a despairing gesture. " I ad- 
mire you, sir, when you talk of England. It makes you 
handsomer — yes, even handsomer! — somehow. But all 
the while I am remembering that England is just an 
ordinary island inhabited by a number of ordinary per- 
sons, for the most of whom I have no particular feeling 
one way or the other." 

Pevensey looked at her for a while with queer tender- 
ness. Then he smiled. " No, I could not quite make you 
understand, my dear. But, ah, why fuddle that quaint 
little brain by trying to understand such matters as lie 
without your realm? For a woman's kingdom is the 
home, my dear, and her throne is in the heart of her hus- 
band " 

"All this is but another way of saying your lordship 



214 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

would have us cups upon a shelf, " she pointed out — " in 
readiness for your leisure." 

He shrugged, said " Nonsense ! " and began more lightly 
to talk of other matters. Thus and thus he would do in 
France, such and such trinkets he would fetch back — "as 
toys for the most whimsical, the loveliest and the most 
obstinate child in all the world," he phrased it. And 
they would be married, Pevensey declared, in September : 
nor (he gaily said) did he propose to have any further 
argument about it. Children should be seen — the pro- 
verb was dusty, but it particularly applied to pretty 
children. 

Cynthia let him talk. She was just a little afraid of 
his self confidence, and of this tall nobleman's habit of 
getting what he wanted, in the end : but she dispiritedly 
felt that Pevensey had failed her. He treated her as a 
silly infant : and his want of her, even in that capacity, 
was a secondary matter: he was going into France, for 
all his petting talk, and was leaving her to shift as she 
best might, until he could spare the time to resume his 
love-making .... 

II 
What Comes of Scribbling 

Now when Pevensey had gone the room seemed dark- 
ened by the withdrawal of so much magnificence. 
Cynthia watched from the window as the tall earl rode 
away, with three handsomely clad retainers. Yes, George 
was very fine and admirable, no doubt of it : even so, 
there was relief in the reflection that for a month or two 
she was rid of him. 

Turning, she faced a lean dishevelled man, who stood 
by the Magdalen tapestry scratching his chin. He had 
unquiet bright eyes, this out-at-elbows poet whom a mar- 
quis's daughter was pleased to patronize, and his red hair 
to-day was unpardonably puzzled. Nor were his man- 
ners beyond reproach, for now, without saying anything, 
he too went to the window. He dragged one foot a 
little as he walked. 

" So my lord Pevensey departs ! Look how he rides in 



PORCELAIN CUPS 215 

triumph ! like lame Tamburlaine, with Techelles and Us- 
umcasane and Theridamas to attend him, and with the 
sunset turning the dust raised by their horses' hoofs into 
a sort of golden haze about them. It is a beautiful world. 
And truly, Mistress Cyn," the poet said, reflectively, 
" that Pevensey is a very splendid ephemera. If not a 
king himself, at least he goes magnificently to settle the 
affairs of kings. Were modesty not my failing, Mis- 
tress Cyn, I would acclaim you as strangely lucky, in being 
beloved by two fine fellows that have not their like in 
England." 

" Truly you are not always thus modest, Kit Mar- 
lowe " 

" But, Lord, how seriously Pevensey takes it all ! and 
himself in particular! Why, there departs from us, in 
befitting state, a personage whose opinion as to every 
topic in the world is written legibly in the carriage of 
those fine shoulders, even when seen from behind and 
from so considerable a distance. And in not one syllable 
do any of these opinions differ from the opinions of his 
great-great-grandfathers. Oho, and hark to Deptford! 
now all the oafs in the Corn-market are cheering this bul- 
wark of Protestant England, this rising young hero of 
a people with no nonsense about them. Yes, it is a very 
quaint and rather splendid ephemera. " 

A marquis's daughter could not quite approve of the 
way in which this shoemaker's son, however talented, 
railed at his betters. " Pevensey will be the greatest man 
in these kingdoms some day. Indeed, Kit Marlowe, there 
are those who say he is that much already." 

" Oh, very probably ! Still, I am puzzled by human 
greatness. A century hence what will he matter, this 
Pevensey? His ascent and his declension will have been 
completed, and his foolish battles and treaties will have 
given place to other foolish battles and treaties, and ob- 
livion will have swallowed this glistening bluebottle, 
plumes and fine lace and stately ruff and all. Why, he 
is but an adviser to the queen of half an island, whereas 
my Tamburlaine was lord of all the golden ancient East: 
and what does my Tamburlaine matter now, save that he 
gave Kit Marlowe the subject of a drama? Hah, softly 



216 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

though ! for does even that very greatly matter ? Who 
really cares to-day about what scratches were made upon 
wax by that old Euripides, the latchet of whose sandals 
I am not worthy to unloose? No, not quite worthy, as 
yet ! " 

And thereupon the shabby fellow sat down in the tall 
leather-covered chair which Pevensey had just vacated: 
and this Marlowe nodded his flaming head portentously. 
" Hoh, look you, I am displeased, Mistress Cyn, I cannot 
lend my approval to this over-greedy oblivion that gapes 
for all. No, it is not a satisfying arrangement that I 
should teeter insecurely through the void on a gob of 
mud, and be expected bye and bye to relinquish even that 
crazy foothold. Even for Kit Marlowe death lies in 
wait ! and it may be, not anything more after death, not 
even any lovely words to play with. Yes, and this Mar- 
lowe may amount to nothing, after all : and his one chance 
of amounting to that which he intends may be taken 
away from him at any moment ! " 

He touched the breast of a weather-beaten doublet. He 
gave her that queer twisted sort of smile which the girl 
could not but find attractive, somehow. He said : 
" Why but this heart thumping here inside me may stop 
any moment like a broken clock. Here is Euripides writ- 
ing better than I : and here in my body, under my hand, 
is the mechanism upon which depend all those master- 
pieces that are to blot the Athenian from the reckoning, 
and I have no control of it ! " 

" Indeed, I fear that you control few things," she told 
him, " and that least of all do you control your taste for 
taverns and bad women. Oh, I hear tales of you ! " And 
Cynthia raised a reproving fore-finger. 

" True tales, no doubt." He shrugged. " Lacking the 
moon he vainly cried for, the child learns to content 
himself with a penny whistle." 

" Ah, but the moon is far away," the girl said, smiling — 
" too far to hear the sound of human crying : and besides, 
the moon, as I remember it, was never a very amorous 
goddess — " 

" Just so, " he answered : " also she was called Cynthia, 
and she, too, was beautiful." 



PORCELAIN CUPS 217 

" Yet is it the heart that cries to me, my poet ? " she 
asked him, softly, "or just the lips?" 

" Oh, both of them, most beautiful and inaccessible of 
goddesses." Then Marlowe leaned toward her, laughing 
and shaking that disreputable red head. "Still, you are 
very foolish, in your latest incarnation, to be wasting 
your rays upon carpet earls who will not outwear a cen- 
tury. Were modesty not my failing, I repeat, I could 
name somebody who will last longer. Yes, and — if, 
but I lacked that plaguey virtue — I would advise you 
to go a-gypsying with that nameless somebody, so that 
two manikins might snatch their little share of the 
big things that are eternal, just as the butterfly fares 
intrepidly and joyously, with the sun for his torch- 
boy, through a universe wherein thought cannot esti- 
mate the unimportance of a butterfly, and wherein not 
even the chaste moon is very important. Yes, cer- 
tainly I would advise you to have done with this vanity 
of courts and masques, of satins and fans and fiddles, 
this dallying with tinsels and bright vapours ; and very 
movingly I would exhort you to seek out Arcadia, 
travelling hand in hand with that still nameless some- 
body." And of a sudden the restless man began to 
sing. 

Sang Kit Marlowe : 

" Come live with me and be my love, 
And we will all the pleasures prove 
That hills and valleys, dales and fields, 
Woods or steepy mountain yields. 

" And we will sit upon the rocks, 
And see the shepherds feed their flocks 
By shallow rivers, to whose falls 
Melodious birds sing madrigals " 

But the girl shook her small, wise head decisively. 
" That is all very fine, but, as it happens, there is no 
such place as this Arcadia, where people can frolic in 
perpetual sunlight the year round, and find their food 
and clothing miraculously provided. No, nor can you, 
I am afraid, give me what all maids really, in their 



218 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

heart of hearts, desire far more than any sugar-candy 
Arcadia. Oh, as I have so often told you, Kit, I think 
you love no woman. You love words. And your ser- 
aglio is tenanted by very beautiful words, I grant you, 
though there is no longer any Sestos builded of agate 
and crystal, either, Kit Marlowe. For, as you may 
perceive, sir, I have read all that lovely poem you left 
with me last Thursday " 

She saw how interested he was, saw how he almost 
smirked. " Aha, so you think it not quite bad, eh, the 
conclusion of my ' Hero and Leander ' ? " 

" It is your best. And your middlemost, my poet, 
is better than aught else in English," she said, politely, 
and knowing how much he delighted to hear such 
remarks. 

" Come, I retract my charge of foolishness, for you 
are plainly a wench of rare discrimination. And yet 
you say I do not love you ! Cynthia, you are beautiful, 
you are perfect in all things. You are that heavenly 
Helen of whom I wrote, some persons say, acceptably 

enough How strange it was I did not know that 

Helen was dark-haired and pale ! for certainly yours 
is that immortal loveliness which must be served by 
poets in life and death." 

" And I wonder how much of these ardours," she 
thought, " is kindled by my praise of his verses ? " She 
bit her lip, and she regarded him with a hint of sad- 
ness. She said, aloud : " But I did not, after all, speak 
to Lord Pevensey concerning the printing of your poem. 
Instead, I burned your ' Hero and Leander '." 

She saw him jump, as under a whip-lash. Then he 
smiled again, in that wry fashion of his. " I lament 
the loss to letters, for it was my only copy. But you 
knew that." 

" Yes, Kit, I knew it was your only copy. " 

" Oho ! and for what reason did you burn it, may 
one ask ? " 

" I thought you loved it more than you loved me. 
It was my rival, I thought " The girl was con- 
scious of remorse, and yet it was remorse commingled 
with a mounting joy. 



PORCELAIN CUPS 219 

"And so you thought a jingle scribbled upon a bit 
of paper could be your rival with me ! " 

Then Cynthia no longer doubted, but gave a joyous 
little sobbing laugh, for the love of her disreputable 
dear poet was sustaining the stringent testing she had 
devised. She touched his freckled hand caressingly, 
and her face was as no man had ever seen it, and her 
voice, too, caressed him. 

" Ah, you have made me the happiest of women, Kit ! 
Kit, I am almost disappointed in you, though, that 
you do not grieve more for the loss of that beautiful 
poem." 

His smiling did not waver; yet the lean, red-haired 
man stayed motionless. " Do I appear perturbed ? " he 
said. "Why, but see how lightly I take the destruc- 
tion of my life-work in this, my masterpiece ! For I 
can assure you it was a masterpiece, the fruit of two 
years' toil and of much loving repolishment " 

" Ah, but you love me better than such matters, do 
you not?" she asked him, tenderly. "Kit Marlowe, I 
adore you ! Sweetheart, do you not understand that 
a woman wants to be loved utterly and entirely? She 
wants no rivals, not even paper rivals. And so often 
when you talked of poetry I have felt lonely and chilled 
and far away from you, and I have been half envious, 
dear, of your Heros and your Helens, and your other 
good-for-nothing Greek minxes. But now I do not 
mind them at all. And I will make amends, quite 
prodigal amends, for my naughty jealousy; and my poet 
shall write me some more lovely poems, so he shall " 

He said " You fool ! " 

And she drew away from him, for this man was 
no longer smiling. 

" You burned my ' Hero and Leander ' ! You ! you big- 
eyed fool ! You lisping idiot ! you wriggling, cuddling 
worm ! you silken bag of guts ! had not even you the 
wit to perceive it was immortal beauty which would 
have lived long after you and I were stinking dirt? 
And you, a half-witted animal, a shining, chattering 
parrot, lay claws to it ! " Marlowe had risen in a sort 
of seizure, in a condition which was really quite unrea- 



220 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

sonable when you considered that only a poem was at 
stake, even a rather long poem. 

And Cynthia began to smile, with tremulous hurt- 
looking young lips. " So my poet's love is very much 
the same as Pevensey's love! And I was right, after 
all. " 

" Oh, oh ! " said Marlowe, " that ever a poet should 
love a woman! What jokes does the lewd flesh con- 
trive ! " Of a sudden he was calmer : and then rage 
fell from him like a dropped cloak, and he viewed her 
as with respectful wonder. " Why, but you sitting there, 
with goggling innocent bright eyes, are an allegory of 
all that is most droll and tragic. Yes, and indeed there 
is no reason to blame you. It is not your fault that 
every now and then is born a man who serves an idea 
which is to him the most important thing in the world. 
It is not your fault that this man perforce inhabits a 
body to which the most important thing in the world 
is a woman. Certainly it is not your fault that this 
compost makes yet another jumble of his two desires, 
and persuades himself that the two are somehow allied. 
The woman inspires, the woman uplifts, the woman 
strengthens him for his high work, saith he ! Well, 
well, perhaps there are such women, but by land and 
sea I have encountered none of them." 

All this was said while Marlowe shuffled about the 
room, with bent shoulders, and nodding his tousled red 
head, and limping as he walked. Now Marlowe turned, 
futile and shabby-looking, just where Pevensey had 
loomed resplendent a while since. Again she saw the 
poet's queer, twisted, jeering smile. 

" What do you care for my ideals ? What do you 
care for the ideals of that tall earl whom you have 
held from his proper business for a fortnight? or for 
the ideals of any man alive? Why, not one thread of 
that dark hair, not one snap of those white little fin- 
gers, except when ideals irritate you by distracting a 
man's attention from Cynthia Allonby. Otherwise, he 
is welcome enough to play with his incomprehensible 
toys." 

He jerked a thumb toward the shelves behind him. 



PORCELAIN CUPS 221 

" Oho, you virtuous pretty ladies ! what all you value 
is such matters as those cups: they please the eye, they 
are worth sound money, and people envy you the pos- 
session of them. So you cherish your shiny mud cups, 
and you burn my ' Hero and Leander ' : and I declaim 
all this dull nonsense, over the ashes of my ruined 
dreams, thinking at bottom of how pretty you are, and 
of how much I would like to kiss you. That is the 
real tragedy, the immortal tragedy, that I should still 
hanker after you, my Cynthia " 

His voice dwelt tenderly upon her name. His fever- 
haunted eyes were tender, too, for just a moment. Then 
he grimaced. 

" No, I am wrong — the tragedy strikes deeper. The 
root of it is that there is in you and in all your glit- 
tering kind no malice, no will to do harm nor to hurt 
anything, but just a bland and invincible and, upon the 
whole, a well-meaning stupidity, informing a bright and 
soft and delicately scented animal. So you work ruin 
among those men who serve ideals, not foreplanning 
ruin, not desiring to ruin anything, not even having 
sufficient wit to perceive the ruin when it is accom- 
plished. You are, when all is done, not even detestable, 
not even a worthy peg whereon to hang denunciatory 
sonnets, you shallow-pated pretty creatures whom poets 
— oh, and in youth all men are poets ! — whom poets, 
now and always, are doomed to hanker after to the 
detriment of their poesy. No, I concede it : you kill 
without premeditation, and without ever suspecting your 
hands to be anything but stainless. So in logic I must 
retract all my harsh words ; and I must, without any 
hint or reproach, endeavour to bid you a somewhat more 
civil farewell. " 

She had regarded him, throughout this preposterous 
and uncalled-for harangue, with sad composure, with 
a forgiving pity. Now she asked him, very quietly, 
"Where are you going, Kit?" 

" To the Golden Hind, O gentle, patient and unjustly 
persecuted virgin martyr ! " he answered, with an ex- 
aggerated bow — " since that is the part in which you 
now elect to posture." 



222 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" Not to that low, vile place again ! " 

" But certainly I intend in that tavern to get tipsy 
as quickly as possible: for then the first woman I see 
will for the time become the woman whom I desire, 
and who exists nowhere." And with that the red- 
haired man departed, limping and singing as he went 
to look for a trull in a pot-house. 

Sang Kit Marlowe : 

"And I will make her beds of roses 
And a thousand fragrant posies; 
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle 
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle. 

"A gown made of the finest wool 
Which from our pretty lambs we pull ; 
Fair-lined slippers for the cold, 
With buckles of the purest gold — ■ — " 



III 
Economics of Egeria 

She sat quite still when Marlowe had gone. 

" He will get drunk again, " she thought despond- 
ently. " Well, and why should it matter to me if he 
does, after all that outrageous ranting? He has been 
unforgivably insulting — Oh, but none the less, I do 
not want to have him babbling of the roses and gold 
of that impossible fairy world which the poor, frantic 
child really believes in, to some painted woman of the 
town who will laugh at him. I loathe the thought of 
her laughing at him — and kissing him ! His notions 
are wild foolishness ; but I at least wish that they were 
not foolishness, and that hateful woman will not care 
one way or the other." 

So Cynthia sighed, and to comfort her forlorn con- 
dition fetched a hand-mirror from the shelves where- 
on glowed her green cups. She touched each cup car- 
essingly in passing; and that which she found in the 
mirror, too, she regarded not unappreciatively, from 



PORCELAIN CUPS 223 

varying angles. . . . Yes, after all, dark hair and a 
pale skin had their advantages at a court where pink 
and yellow women were so much the fashion as to be 
common. Men remembered you more distinctively. 
Though nobody cared for men, in view of their unrea- 
sonable behaviour, and their absolute self-centeredness. 
. . . Oh, it was pitiable, it was grotesque, she reflected 
sadly, how Pevensey and Kitt Marlowe had both failed 
her, after so many pretty speeches. 

Still, there was a queer pleasure in being wooed by 
Kit: his insane notions went to one's head like wine. 
She would send Meg for him again to-morrow. And 
Pevensey was, of course, the best match imaginable. 
. . . No, it would be too heartless to dismiss George 
Bulmer outright. It was unreasonable of him to de- 
sert her because a Gascon threatened to go to mass; 
but, after all, she would probably marry George in the 
end. He was really almost unendurably silly, though, 
about England and freedom and religion, and right and 
wrong things like that. Yes, it would be tedious to 
have a husband who often talked to you as though 
he were addressing a public meeting. . . . However, 
he was very handsome, particularly in his highflown 
and most tedious moments ; that year-old son of his 
was sickly and would probably die soon, the sweet, 
forlorn little pet, and not be a bother to anybody: and 
her dear old father would be profoundly delighted by 
the marriage of his daughter to a man whose wife 
could have at will a dozen celadon cups, and anything 
else she chose to ask for. . . . 

But now the sun had set, and the room was grow- 
ing quite dark. So Cynthia stood a-tiptoe, and replaced 
the mirror upon the shelves, setting it upright behind 
those wonderful green cups which had anew reminded 
her of Pevensey's wealth and generosity. She smiled 
a little, to think of what fun it had been to hold George 
back, for two whole weeks, from discharging that hor- 
rible old queen's stupid errands. 



224 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

IV 

Treats Philosophically of Breakage 

The door opened. Stalwart young Captain Edward 
Musgrave came with a lighted candle, which he placed 
carefully upon the table in the room's centre. 

He said : " They told me you were here. I come 
from London. I bring news for you." 

" You bring no pleasant tidings, I fear " 

"As Lord Pevensey rode through the Strand this 
afternoon, on his way home, the Plague smote him. 
That is my sad news. I grieve to bring such news, 
for your cousin was a worthy gentleman and univer- 
sally respected." 

" Ah, " Cynthia said, very quiet, " so Pevensey is dead. 
But the Plague kills quickly ! " 

" Yes, yes, that is a comfort, certainly. Yes, he turned 
quite black in the face, they report, and before his men 
could reach him had fallen from his horse. It was all 
over almost instantly. I saw him afterward, hardly a 
pleasant sight. I came to you as soon as I could. I 
was vexatiously detained " 

" So George Buhner is dead, in a London gutter ! It 
seems strange, because he was here, befriended by 
monarchs, and very strong and handsome and self-con- 
fident, hardly two hours ago. Is that his blood upon 
your sleeve ? " 

" But of course not ! I told you I was vexatiously 
detained, almost at your gates. Yes, I had the ill luck 
to blunder into a disgusting business. The two rap- 
scallions tumbled out of a doorway under my horse's 
very nose, egad ! It was a near thing I did not ride 
them down. So I stopped, naturally. I regretted stop- 
ping, afterward, for I was too late to be of help. It 
was at the Golden Hind, of course. Something really 
ought to be done about that place. Yes, and that rogue 
Marler bled all over a new doublet, as you see. And 
the Deptford constables held me with their foolish in- 
terrogatories " 



PORCELAIN CUPS 225 

" So one of the fighting men was named Marlowe ! 
Is he dead, too, dead in another gutter ? " 

" Marlowe or Marler, or something of the sort — wrote 
plays and sonnets and such stuff, they tell me. I do 
not know anything about him — though, I give you my 
word now, those greasy constables treated me as though 
I were a noted frequenter of pot-houses. That sort 
of thing is most annoying. At all events, he was drunk 
as David's sow, and squabbling over, saving your pres- 
ence, a woman of the sort one looks to find in that 
abominable hole. And so, as I was saying, this other 
drunken rascal dug a knife into him " 

But now, to Captain Musgrave's discomfort, Cyn- 
thia Allonby had begun to weep heartbrokenly. 

So he cleared his throat, and he patted the back of 
her hand. " It is a great shock to you, naturally — oh, 
most naturally, and does you great credit. But come 
now, Pevensey is gone, as we must all go some day, 
and our tears cannot bring him back, my dear. We 
can but hope he is better off, poor fellow, and look on 
it as a mysterious dispensation and that sort of thing, 
my dear " 

" Oh, Ned, but people are so cruel ! People will be 
saying that it was I who kept poor Cousin George in 
London this past two weeks, and that but for me he 
would have been in France long ago. And then the 
Queen, Ned! — why, that pig-headed old woman will 
be blaming it on me, that there is nobody to pre- 
vent that detestable French King from turning Cath- 
olic and dragging England into new wars, and I 
shall not be able to go to any of the court dances ! 
nor to the masque ! " sobbed Cynthia, " nor any- 
where ! " 

" Now you talk tender-hearted and angelic nonsense. 
It is noble of you to feel that way, of course. But 
Pevensey did not take proper care of himself, and that 
is all there is to it. Now I have remained in London 
since the Plague's outbreak. I stayed with my regiment, 
naturally. We have had a few deaths, of course. Peo- 
ple die everywhere. But the Plague has never bothered 
me. And why has it never bothered me? Simply be- 



226 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

cause I was sensible, took the pains to consult an astrol- 
oger, and by his advice wear about my neck, night and 
day, a bag of dried toad's blood and powdered cinna- 
mon. It is an infallible specific for men born in Feb- 
ruary. No, not for a moment do I wish to speak harshly 
of the dead, but sensible persons cannot but consider 
Lord Pevensey's death to have been caused by his own 
carelessness." 

" Now, certainly that is true," the girl said, bright- 
ening. "It was really his own carelessness, and his dear, 
lovable rashness. And somebody could explain it to 
the Queen. Besides, I often think that wars are good 
for the public spirit of a nation, and bring out its true 
manhood. But then it upset me, too, a little, Ned, to 
hear about this Marlowe — for I must tell you that I 
knew the poor man, very slightly. So I happen to 
know that today he flung off in a rage, and began drink- 
ing, because somebody, almost by pure accident, had 
burned a packet of his verses " 

Thereupon Captain Musgrave raised heavy eyebrows, 
and guffawed so heartily that the candle flickered. " To 
think of the fellow's putting it on that plea ! when he 
could so easily have written some more verses. That 
is the trouble with these poets, if you ask me : they 
are not practical even in their ordinary, everyday lying. 
No, no, the truth of it was that the rogue wanted a 
pretext for making a beast of himself, and seized the 
first that came to hand. Egad, my dear, it is a daily 
practice with these poets. They hardly draw a sober 
breath. Everybody knows that." 

Cynthia was looking at him in the half-lit room 
with very flattering admiration. . . . Seen thus, with 
her scarlet lips a little parted — disclosing pearls — and 
with her naive dark eyes aglow, she was quite incred- 
ibly pretty and caressable. She had almost forgotten 
until now that this stalwart soldier, too, was in love 
with her. But now her spirits were rising venturously, 
and she knew that she liked Ned Musgrave. He had 
sensible notions ; he saw things as they really were, and 
with him there would never be any nonsense about top- 
lofty ideas. Then, too, her dear old white-haired father 



PORCELAIN CUPS 227 

would be pleased, because there was a very fair 
estate. . . . 

So Cynthia said : " I believe you are right, Ned. I 
often wonder how they can be so lacking in self-respect. 
Oh, I am certain you must be right, for it is just what 
I felt without being able quite to express it. You will 
stay for supper with us, of course. Yes, but you must, 
because it is always a great comfort for me to talk with 
really sensible persons. I do not wonder that you are 
not very eager to stay, though, for I am probably a 
fright, with my eyes red, and with my hair all tumbling 
down, like an old witch's. Well, let us see what can 
be done about it, sir ! There was a hand-mirror " 

And thus speaking, she tripped, with very much the 
reputed grace of a fairy, toward the far end of the 
room, and standing a-tiptoe, groped at the obscure 
shelves, with a resultant crash of falling china. 

" Oh, but my lovely cups ! " said Cynthia, in dismay. 
" I had forgotten they were up there : and now I have 
smashed both of them, in looking for my mirror, sir, 
and trying to prettify myself for you. And I had so 
fancied them, because they had not their like in Eng- 
land ! " 

She looked at the fragments, and then at Musgrave, 
with wide, innocent hurt eyes. She was honestly grieved 
by the loss of her quaint toys. But Musgrave, in his 
sturdy, common-sense way, only laughed at her ser- 
iousness over such kickshaws. 

" I am for an honest earthenware tankard myself ! M 
he said, jovially, as the two went in to supper. 



THE HIGH COST OF 
CONSCIENCE 

BY BEATRICE RAVEN EL 
From Harper's Magazine 

ANY woman who can accept money from a gentle- 

i\ man who is in no way related to her " Miss 

Fowler delivered judgment. 

" My dear Aunt Maria, you mean a gentleman's dis- 
embodied spirit," Hugh's light, pleasant tones inter- 
vened. 

" A legacy, Maria, is not quite the same thing." Mr. 
Winthrop Fowler's perfect intonation carried its usual 
implication that the subject was closed. 

" is what I call an adventuress," Miss Fowler 

summed up. She had a way of ignoring objections, of 
reappearing beyond them like a submarine with the ulti- 
mate and detonating answer. " And now she wants to 
reopen the matter when the whole thing's over and done 
with. After three years. Extraordinary taste." She 
hitched her black-velvet Voltaire arm-chair a little away 
from the fire and spread a vast knitting-bag of Chinese 
brocade over her knees. " I suppose she isn't satisfied ; 
she wants more," 

" Naturally, I cannot imagine what other reason she 
could have for insisting on a personal interview," her 
brother agreed, dryly. He retired into the Transcript 
as a Trappist withdraws into his vows. A chastened 
client of Mr. Fowler's once observed that a half-hour's 
encounter with him resulted in a rugful of asphyxiated 
topics. 

Miss Maria, however, preferred disemboweling hers. 
" I shouldn't have consented," she snapped. " Hugh, if 
you would be so good as to sit down. You are obstruct- 
ing the light. And the curtain-cord. If you could re- 
frain from twisting it for a few moments." 

228 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 229 

Hugh let his long, high-shouldered figure lapse into 
the window-seat. "And besides, we're all dying to know 
what she looks like," he suggested. 

" Speak for yourself, please," said Miss Fowler, with 
the vivacity of the lady who protests too much. 

" I do, I do! Good Lord! I'm just as bad as the rest 
of you. All my life I've been consumed to know what 
Uncle Hugh could have seen in a perfectly obscure little 
person to make him do what he did. There must have 
been something." His eyes travelled to a sketch in pencil 
of a man's head which hung in the shadow of the chim- 
neypiece, a sketch whose uncanny suggestion might have 
come from the quality of the sitter or merely from a 
smudging of the medium. " Everything he did always 
seemed to me perfectly natural," he went on, as though 
conscious of new discovery. " Even those years when 
he was knocking about the world, hiding his address. 
Even when he had that fancy that people were persecut- 
ing him. Most people did worry him horribly." 

A glance flashed between the two middle-aged listeners. 
It was a peculiar glance, full of a half-denied portent. 
Then Miss Fowler's fingers, true to their traditions, loos- 
ened their grip on her needles and casually smoothed out 
her work. 

" I have asked you not to speak of that," she men- 
tioned, quietly. 

" I know. But of course there was no doubt at all 
that he was sa — was entirely recovered before his death. 
Don't you think so, sir ? " 

His uncle laid down the paper and fixed the young 
man with the gray, unsheathed keenness that had sent 
so many witnesses grovelling to the naked truth. " No 
doubt whatever. I always held, and so did both the 
physicians, that his lack of balance was a temporary and 
sporadic thing, brought on by overwork and — and cer- 
tain unhappy conditions of his life. There has never 
been any such taint in our branch of the family." 

" No-o, so they say," Hugh agreed. " One of our 
forebears did see ghosts, but that was rather the fashion. 
And his father, that old Johnnie over the fireplace — 
you take after him, Aunt Maria — he was the prize witch- 



230 PRIZE STORIES 19 19 

smeller of his generation, and he condemned all the 
young and pretty ones. That hardly seems well-bal- 
anced." 

" Collaterals on the distaff side," Mr. Fowler put in 
hastily. " If you would read Mendel " 

" Mendel ? I have read about him." He raised the 
forefinger of his right hand. " Very suggestive. If your 
father was a black rabbit " — he raised the forefinger of 
his left — " and your mother was a white rabbit, then 
your male children would be " — he raised all the other 
fingers and paused as though taken aback by the size 
of the family — " would be blue guinea-pigs, with a ten- 
dency to club-foot and astigmatism, but your female chil- 
dren might only be rather clumsy tangoists with a weak- 
ness for cutting their poor relations. That's all I 
remember, but I do know that because I studied the 
charts." 

" Very amusing," said Mr. Fowler, indulgently. 

Hugh flushed. 

" I am sure it can't be that way." Miss Maria flapped 
her knitting over. " But everything has changed since 
my day, and not for the better. The curtain-cord." 

" Beg pardon," muttered Hugh. His mind went on 
churning nonsense. " There are two days it is useless 
to flee from — the day of your death and the day when 
your family doesn't care for your jokes. 

" For a joke is an intellectual thing, 
And a mot is the sword of an angel king. 

" Good old Blake. Why do the best people always see 
jokes? Why does a really good one make a whole frozen 
crowd feel jolly and united all of a sudden?" He pon- 
dered on the beneficence of the comic spirit. Hugh was 
a born Deist. It gave him no trouble at all to believe 
that since the paintings of Velasquez and the great out- 
doors, which he had seen, were beautiful, so much the 
more beautiful must be that God whom he had not seen. 
It seemed reasonable. As for the horrors like Uncle 
Hugh's affair — well, they must be put in for chiaroscuro. 
A thing couldn't be all white without being blank. The 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 231 

thought of the shadows, however, always made him pro- 
foundly uncomfortable, and his instinct right-about-faced 
to the lighter surface of life. " Anyhow," he broke 
silence, " the daughter of Heth must be game. Three 
to one, and on our native heath." 

He looked appraisingly about the room, pausing at 
the stiff, distinguished, grey-haired couple, one on either 
side of the fire. The effect was of a highly finished 
genre picture: the rich wainscot between low book- 
shelves, the brooding portraits, the black-blue rug bor- 
dered by a veiled Oriental motive, the black-velvet cush- 
ions that brought out the watery reflections of old Shera- 
ton as even the ancient horsehair had not done; the 
silver candlesticks, the miniatures, and on the mantel 
those two royal flower-pots whose precarious existence 
was to his aunt a very fearful joy. Even the tortoise- 
shell cat, sprawled between the two figures like a tiny 
tiger-skin, was in the picture. It was a room that gently 
put you into your place. Hugh recalled with a faint grin 
certain meetings here of philanthropic ladies whose paths 
had seldom turned into the interiors of older Beacon 
Street. The state of life to which it had pleased their 
Maker to call them, he reflected, would express itself 
preferably in gilding and vast pale-tinted upholstery and 
pink bibelots — oh, quite a lot of pink. This place had 
worried them into a condition of disconcerted awe. 

He tried to fancy what it was going to do to the un- 
bidden, resented guest. A queer protest against its en- 
mity, an impulse to give her a square deal, surged up 
in him from nowhere. After all, whatever else she 
might be, she was Uncle Hugh's girl. Like all the 
world, Hugh loved the dispossessed lover. He knew 
what it felt like. One does not reach the mature age 
of twenty-four without having at least begun the pas- 
sionate pilgrimage. His few tindery and tinselly affairs 
he uneasily suspected of following the obvious formula : 
three parts curiosity, three parts the literary sense, three 
parts crude young impulse, one part distilled moonshine. 
The real love of his life had been Uncle Hugh. 

He sprang up with an abruptness to which his elders 
seemed to be used. He stopped before a brass-trimmed 



232 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

desk and jerked at the second drawer. " Where are those 
letters, sir? " 

" You mean " 

" Yes, the one you wrote her about the money, and 
her answer. You put them with his papers, didn't you? 
Where's the key?" 

The older man drew from his waistcoat pocket a 
carved bit of brass. "What do you want with them?" 
he asked, cautiously. 

" I want to refresh my memory — and Aunt Maria's." 
He took out a neat little pile of papers and began to 
sort them intently. " Here they are on top." He laid 
out a docketed envelope on the desk. " And here are 
the essays and poems that you wouldn't publish. I con- 
sidered them the best things he ever did." 

" You were not his literary executor," said his uncle, 
coldly. Another stifled glance passed between the seniors, 
but this time Miss Maria made no effort to restore the 
gloss of the surface. She sat idle, staring at the papers 
with a sort of horror. 

" Put them back," she said. " Winthrop, I do think 
you might burn them. If you keep things like that too 
long the wrong people are sure to get them." 

" Wait a bit. I haven't seen them for years, not since 
you published the collected works — with Hamlet left out." 
The young man lifted a worn brown-morocco portfolio 
tied with a frazzled red ribbon. " And here " — his voice 
dropped — " here is It — the letters he wrote to her and 
never sent. It was a sort of diary, wasn't it, going on 
for years ? What a howling pity we couldn't print that ! " 

" Hugh ! " 

" Don't faint, Aunt Maria. You wouldn't catch me 
doing anything so indecent. But suppose Dante's dear 
family had suppressed the Vita Nuova. And it ought to 
be one of the most extraordinary human documents in 
the world, perfectly intimate, all the bars down, full of 
those flashes of his. Just the man, ipsissimus, that never 
happened but that once. Uncle Winthrop, don't you 
think that I might read it ? " 

"Do you think so? I never did." 

" Oh, if you put it up to me like that ! Of course I 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 233 

can't. But what luck that he didn't ask you to send 
it to her — supposing she's the wrong kind — wasn't 
it . . . " His voice trailed off, leaving his lips foolishly 
open. " You don't mean — he did ? " 

" Yes, at the end, after you had left the room," said 
Mr. Fowler, firmly. 

" And you— didn't ? Why not ? " 

" As you said, for fear she was the wrong kind." 

" It was too much to hope that she would be any- 
thing else," his aunt broke in, harshly. " Shut your 
mouth, Hugh; you look like a fool. Think what she 
might have done with them — she and some of those un- 
speakable papers." 

" Oh, I see ! I see ! " groaned the young man. " But 
how awful not to do the very last thing he wanted ! Did 
you ever try to find out what kind of a person she was ? " 

" She took the money. That was enough," cried Miss 
Fowler. " She got her share, just as though she had been 
his legal wife." 

Hugh gave her a dazed look. " You don't mean that 
she was his illegal one? I never " 

" Oh no, no ! " Mr. Fowler interposed. " We have no 
reason to think that she was otherwise than respectable. 
Maria, you allow most unfortunate implications to result 
from your choice of words. We know very little, really." 

" He met her in Paris when he gave that course of 
lectures over there. We know that much. And she was 
an American student — from Virginia, wasn't it? But 
that was over twenty years ago. Didn't he see her after 
that?" 

" I am sure he did not." 

" She wasn't with him when he was knocking about 
Europe ? " 

" Certainly not. She came home that very year and 
married. As her letter states, she was a widow with 
three children at the time of his death." 

" I have always considered it providential that he 
didn't know she was a widow," observed Miss Maria, 
primly. 

Her nephew shot her a look that admitted his inter- 
mittent amusement in his aunt Maria, but definitely gave 



234 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

her up. He carefully leaned the portfolio inside the arm 
of the sofa that neighboured the desk, and picked up 
the long envelope. 

" A copy of my letter," said Mr. Fowler. 

To his sister, watching him as he watched Hugh, came 
the unaccountable impression that his sure and chiselled 
surface covered a nervous anxiety. Then Miss Maria, 
being a product of the same school, dismissed the idea 
as absurd. 

Hugh raised bewildered eyes from the letters. " I 
can't exactly remember," he said. " I was so cut up at 
the time. Did I ever actually read this before or was 
I merely told about it? I went back for Midyear's, you 
know, almost at once. I know my consent was asked, 
but " 

" You— did not see it." 

" And you, Aunt Maria, of course you knew about 
it!" 

" Certainly," said Miss Fowler, on the defensive. " As 
usual in business matters, your uncle decided for me. 
We have been accustomed to act as a family always. To 
me the solidarity of the family it more than the interest 
of any member of it." 

" Oh, I know that the Fowler family is the noblest 
work of God." The young man looked from one to 
the other as he might have regarded two strangers whose 
motives it was his intention to find out. " I've been 
brought up on that. But what I want to know now is 
the whyness of this letter." 

"What do you mean?" Mr. Fowler's voice cut the 
pause like a trowel executing the middle justice on an 
earthworm. 

" Why — why " Hugh began, desperately. " I mean, 

why wasn't the money turned over to her at once — all 
of it?" 

" It is customary to notify legatees." 

" And she wasn't even a legatee," added Miss Maria, 
grimly. " He never made a will." 

" No," said Hugh, with an ugly laugh, " he merely 
trusted to our promises." 

There was a brief but violent silence. 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 235 

" I think, Winthrop," Miss Maria broke it, " that, in- 
stead of questioning the propriety of my language, you 
might do well to consider your nephew's." 

Hugh half-tendered the letter. " You're so confound- 
edly clever. Uncle Winthrop. You — you just put the 
whole thing up to the poor woman. I can't pick out a 
word to show where you said it, but the tone of your 
letter is exactly this, ' Here's the money for you, and if 
you take it you're doing an unheard-of thing.' She saw 
it right enough. Her answer is just defence of why she 
has to take it — some of it. She's a mother with three 
children, struggling to keep above water. She's a human 
animal fighting for her young. So she takes, most apolo- 
getically, most unhappily, a part of what he left her, 
and she hates to take that. It's the most pitiful 
thing " 

"Piteous," corrected Miss Maria, in a tone like a bite. 

Mr. Fowler laid the tips of his fingers very delicately 
on his nephew's knee. " Will you show me the place 
or places where I make these very damaging observa- 
tions ? " 

" That's just it. I can't pick them out, but " 

" I am sure that you cannot, because they exist only 
in your somewhat — shall we say, lyrical imagination? I 
laid the circumstances before the woman and she acted 
as she saw fit to act. Hugh, my dear boy, I wish that 
you would try to restrain your — your growing tendency 
to excitability. I know that this is a trying day for all 
of us." 

" O Lord, yes ! It brings it all back," said Hugh, 
miserably. " I'm sorry if I said anything offensive, sir, 

but " He gave it up. " You know I have a devil, 

sometimes." He gave a half-embarrassed laugh. 

"Offensive — if you have said anything offensive?" 
Miss Fowler boiled over. " Is that all you are going to 
say, Winthrop? If so " 

Mr. Fowler lifted a warning hand. The house door 
was opening. Then the discreet steps of Gannett came 
up the hall, followed by something lighter and more 
resilient. 

" At least don't give me away to the lady the very 



236 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

first thing," said Hugh, lightly. He shoved the papers 
into the drawer and swung it shut. His heart was beat- 
ing quite ridiculously. He would know at last What 

wouldn't he know ? " Uncle Hugh's girl, Uncle Hugh's 
girl," he told himself, and his temperamental responsive- 
ness to the interest and the mystery of life expanded 
like a sea-anemone in the Gulf Stream. 

Gannett opened the door, announced in his impeccable 
English, " Mrs. Shirley," and was not. 

A very small, very graceful woman hesitated in the 
doorway. Hugh's first impression was surprise that there 
was so little of her. Then his always alert subconscious- 
ness registered: 

" A lady, yes, but a country lady ; not de par le monde. 
Pleasantly rather than well dressed ; those veils are out." 
He had met her at once with outstretched hand and the 
most cordial, " I am glad to see you, Mrs. Shirley." 
Then he mentioned the names of his aunt and uncle. 
He did not dare to leave anything to Aunt Maria. 

That lady made a movement that might or might not 
have been a gesture of recognition. Mr. Fowler, who 
had risen, inclined his handsome head with a polite mur- 
mur and indicated a chair which faced the light. Mrs. 
Shirley sat, instead, upon the edge of the sofa, which 
happened to be nearer. With her coming Hugh's expan- 
siveness had suffered a sudden rebuff. A feeling of dis- 
mal conventionality permeated the room like a fog. He 
plumbed it in vain for the wonder and the magic that 
ought to have been the inescapable aura of Uncle Hugh's 
girl. Was this the mighty ocean, was this all? She 
was a little nervous, too. That was a pity. Nervous- 
ness in social relations was one of the numerous things 
that Aunt Maria never forgave. 

Then the stranger spoke, and Hugh's friendliness went 
out to the sound as to something familiar for which 
he had been waiting. 

" It is very good of you to let me come," she said. 

" But she must be over forty," Hugh told himself, 
" and her voice is young. So was his always." It was 
also very natural and moving and not untinged by what 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 237 

Miss Fowler called the Southern patois. " And her 
feet are young." 

Mr. Fowler uttered another polite murmur. There 
was no help from that quarter. She made another 
start. 

" It seemed to me " she addressed Miss Fowler, 

who looked obdurate. She cast a helpless glance at the 
cat, who opened surprising topaz eyes and looked super- 
cilious. Then she turned to Hugh. " It seemed to me," 
she said, steadily, " that I could make you understand — 
I mean I could express myself more clearly if I could 
see you, than I could by writing, but — it is rather diffi- 
cult." 

The overheated, inclement room waited. Hugh re- 
strained his foot from twitching. Why didn't Aunt Maria 
say something? She was behaving abominably. She was 
still seething with her suppressed outburst like a tea- 
kettle under the cozy of civilization. And it was catching. 

" I explained at the time, three years ago," Mrs. Shir- 
ley made the plunge, " why I took the — money at all." 
The hard word was out, and Hugh relaxed. "I don't 
know what you thought of me, but at the time it seemed 
like the mercy of Heaven. I had to educate the children. 
We were horribly poor. I was almost in despair. And 
I felt that if I could take it from any one I could take 
it from him ..." 

" Yes," said Hugh, unhappily. The depression that 
dropped on him at intervals seemed waiting to pounce. 
He glanced at his uncle's judicial mask, knowing utterly 
the distaste for sentimental encounters that it covered. 
He detested his aunt's aloofness. He was almost angry 
with this little woman's ingenuousness that put her so 
candidly at their cynical mercy. 

" But now," she went on, " some land we have that 
seemed worth nothing at the time has become very valu- 
able. The town grew out in that direction. And my 
eldest boy is doing very well indeed, and my daughter 
is studying for a library position." 

" The short and simple annals of the poor," sighed 
Hugh to Hugh. 

" And so," said little Mrs. Shirley, with astounding 



238 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

simplicity, " I came to ask you please to take it back 
again." She gave an involuntary sigh of relief, as though 
she had returned a rather valuable umbrella. Mr. 
Fowler's eyeglasses dropped from his nose as his eye- 
brows shot up. 

" Good Lord ! " ejaculated Miss Maria with all the 
unexpectedness of Galatea. " You don't really mean it ? " 
Her bag slid to the floor and the cat became thoroughly 
intrigued. 

" Do I understand you to say " — Mr. Fowler's voice 
was almost stirred — " that you wish to return my 
brother's legacy to the family ? " 

" Yes," said Mrs. Shirley, " only, it wasn't a legacy. 
It was merely kindness that let me have it. You never 
can know how kind it was. But we can get on without 
it now." 

Mr. Fowler cleared his throat. To Hugh his manner 
faintly suggested the cat busy with the yarn, full of a 
sort of devout curiosity. " Pardon me," he said, gently, 
" but are you sure — have you given this matter sufficient 
thought? The sum is a considerable one. Your chil- 
dren " 

" I have talked it over with them. They feel just as 
I do." 

" A very proper feeling," said Miss Fowler, approv- 
ingly. " I must say that I never expected it. I shall 
add part of my share of it to the Marian Fowler Ward 
in the Home for Deficient Children. A most worthy 
charity. Perhaps I could interest you " 

" Oh, that would be lovely ! " cried Mrs. Shirley. 
" Anything for children. . . . I've already spoken to 
my cousin, who is a lawyer, about transferring the securi- 
ties back to you." 

" I shall communicate with him at once," said Mr. 
Fowler. His court-room manner had bourgeoned into 
his best drawing-room blend of faintly implied gallantry 
and deep consideration. One almost caught Winter get- 
ting out of the lap of Spring. Then the three heads 
which had unconsciously leaned together suddenly 
straightened up and turned in the same direction. 

Hugh stood almost over them. In one hand he held 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 239 

his aunt's knitting, which he had mechanically resetted 
from the cat. Now he drew out one of the ivory needles 
and snapped it into accurate halves. " This is atrocious ! " 
he said, with care and precision. His voice shook. " I 
shall not touch a cent of it and " — he embraced his uncle 
and aunt in the same devastating look — " neither will 
you if you have any sense of decency." 

« I think " 

" It doesn't matter remotely what you — we think, sir. 
What matters is what Uncle Hugh thought." He turned 
to Mrs. Shirley with an extraordinary softening of tone. 
" Couldn't you keep it ? When he died ... in the room 
over this " — with a little gasp her glance flew to the ceil- 
ing as though this topographical detail had brought her 
a sharp realization of that long-past scene — " he made 
us promise that you should have it, all of it. He felt 
that you needed it ; he worried about it." 

" Oh, how kind of him — how kind ! " cried the little 
woman. The poignancy of her voice cut into his dis- 
appointment like a sharp ray of light. " Even then — 
to think of me. But don't you understand that he 
wouldn't want me to — to take anything that I felt I ought 
not to take ? " 

" That's the way out," rippled across Mr. Fowler's 
face. He was experiencing a variety of mental disturb- 
ances, but this came to the surface just in time for Hugh 
to catch it. 

" Oh, well," he murmured, wearily. " Only, none for 
this deficient child, thank you." He walked to the win- 
dow and stood looking out into the blown spring green 
of the elm opposite. His ebbed anger had left a residuum 
of stubbornness. There was still an act of justice to be 
consummated and the position of grand-justicer offered 
a certain righteous attraction. As he reminded himself, 
if you put your will to work on a difficult action you were 
fain to commit, after a while the will worked automati- 
cally and your mind functioned without aid from you, 
and the action bloomed of itself. This kinetic process 
was a constant device of the freakish impulse that he 
called his devil. He deliberately laid the train. 

" There is one more thing," the alien was saying. Her 



2 4 o PRIZE STORIES 1919 

voice had gained a wonderful fluency amid the general 
thaw. " I didn't dare to ask before, but if he thought 
of me then I have always hoped he left some mes- 
sage for me ... a letter, perhaps." 

Hugh smiled agreeably. " In just a moment," he con- 
sidered, " I am going to do something so outrageous 
that I can't even imagine how my dear families are going 
to take it." He was about to hurt them severely, but 
that was all right. His uncle was a tempered weapon 
of war that despised quarter; and as for Aunt Maria, 
he rather wanted to hurt Aunt Maria for her own good. 

Into the eloquent and mendacious silence that was a 
gift of their caste the voice fell humbly : " So there 
wasn't? I suppose I oughtn't to have expected it." 

" Any time now, Gridley," Hugh signalled to his 
familiar. Like a response, a thin breeze tickled the roots 
of his hair. He swung around with the pivot of a definite 
purpose. With an economy of movement that would 
have contented an efficiency expert he set a straight 
fiddle-backed chair squarely in front of Uncle Hugh's 
girl and settled himself in it with his back to his own 
people. 

" Mrs. Shirley," he began, quietly, " will you talk to 
me, please? I hope I shan't startle you, but there are 
things I absolutely have to know, and this is my one 
chance. I am entirely determined not to let it slip. 
Talk to me, please, not to them. As you have doubt- 
less noticed, though excellent people where the things 
not flatly of this world are concerned, my uncle is a 
graven image and my aunt is a deaf mute. As for me, 
I am just unbalanced enough to understand anything." 
He was aware of the rustle of consternation behind him 
and hurried on, ignoring that and whatever else might 
be happening there. " That's what I'm banking on now. 
I intend to say my say and they are going to allow it, 
because it is dangerous to thwart queer people — very 
dangerous indeed. You know, they thwarted Uncle 
Hugh in every possible way. My grandfather was a 
composite of those two, and all of them adored my uncle 
and contradicted him and watched him until he went 
over the border. And they're so dead scared that I'm 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 241 

going to follow him some day that they let me do quite 
as I please." He passed his hand across his eyes as 
though brushing away cobwebs. " Will you be so good 
as to put your veil up." 

" Why — why, certainly ! " Mrs. Shirley faltered. She 
uncovered her face and Hugh nodded to the witness 
within. 

" Yes, he'd have liked that," he told himself. " Lots 
of expression and those beautiful haunted shadows about 
the eyes." He laughed gently. " Don't look so fright- 
ened. I don't bite. Just humour me, as Uncle Winthrop 
is signalling you to do. You understand, don't you, that 
Uncle Hugh was the romance and the adventure of my 
life? I'm still saturated with him, but there was lots of 
him that I could never get through to. There never 
was a creature better worth knowing, and he couldn't 
show me, or else I had blind spots. There were vast 
tracts of undiscovered country in him, as far as I was 
concerned — lands of wonder, east of the sun and west 
of the moon — that sort of thing. But I knew that there 
was a certain woman who must have been there, who 
held the heart of the mystery, and to-day, when this 
incredible chance came — when you came — I made up 
my mind that I was not going to be restrained nor 
baffled by the customs of my tribe. I want the truth 
and I'm prepared to give it. From the shoulder. If 
you will tell me everything you know about him I prom- 
ise to tell you everything I know. You'll want to " 

The sound of the closing door made him turn. The 
room behind him was empty. His manner quieted in- 
stantly. " That's uncommonly tactful of them. . . . 
You won't think that they meant any discourtesy by 
leaving?" he added, anxiously. "They wouldn't do 
that." 

" Oh, I'm sure not ! Your uncle made me under- 
stand," faltered Mrs. Shirley. " They knew you could 
speak more freely without them." 

" He's wonderful with the wireless," Hugh agreed. 
" But they were in terror, anyway, as to how freely I 
was about to speak before them. They can't stand this. 
Everything really human seems pretty well alien to Uncle 



242 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Winthrop. He's exhibit A of the people who consider 
civilization a mistake. And my aunt Maria is a truly 
good woman — charities and all that — but if you put a 
rabbit in her brain it would incontinently curl up and 
die in convulsions." 

She laughed helplessly, and Hugh reported an ad- 
vance. 

" Nevertheless," he added quaintly, " we don't really 
dislike each other." 

" They love you above everything." 

" I'm the last of the family, you see ; I'm the future. 
. . . Can't we skip the preliminaries ? " he broke out. 
"You don't feel that I am a stranger, do you?" He 
halted on the verge of the confidence that he found no 
barrier in her advanced age. He knew plenty of women 
of forty who had never grown up much and who met 
him on perfectly equal terms. This, however, was a 
case by itself. He plunged back into the memories of 
Uncle Hugh. He spoke of his charm, his outlook en 
life, sometimes curiously veiled, often uncannily clair- 
voyant ; his periods of restless suffering tending to queer, 
unsocial impulses ; then the flowering of an interval of 
hard work and its reward of almost supernatural joy. 

" He used to go around in a rainbow," said Hugh, 
" a sort of holy soap bubble. I hardly dared to speak 
to him for fear of breaking it. It came with a new in- 
spiration, and while it lasted nothing on earth was so 
important. Then when it was finished he never wanted 
to see the thing again." 

" Go on," said his listener. Her grey eyes plumbed 
his with a child's directness. He was conscious of his 
will playing on her. He was keeping his part of the 
contract, but he was also breaking the way for hers. He 
must not let them go for a moment, those grey eyes like 
a girl's that grew absent-minded so easily. Only a little 
more and his mood would curve around both them, a 
glamorous mist of feeling. 

" You go on," he murmured. " Can't you see how 
much I want you to? Can't you feel how much I'm the 
right person to know ? " 

" I could never tell any one. You want " 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 243 

"Anything, everything. You must have known him 
better than anybody in the world did." 

" I think so/' she said, slowly. " And I saw him alone 
only twice in my life." 

For some time he had sat with his long fingers over 
his mouth, afraid of checking her by an untimely word. 

" Of course I was in his classes. You know he had 
an extraordinary success ; he struck twelve at once, as 
they say there. The French really discovered him as a 
poet, just as Mallarme discovered Poe; some of them 
used that parallel. And the girls — he was a matinee 
idol and a cult — even the French girls. We went into 
that classroom thrilling as we never went to any ball. 
I worked that winter for him harder than I had ever 
worked in my life, and about Easter he began to single 
me out for the most merciless fault-finding. That was 
his way of showing that he considered you worth while. 
He had a habit of standing over you in class, holding 
your paper like a knout. And once or twice — I called 
myself a conceited little idiot — but once or twice " 

Hugh nodded. His pulses were singing like morning 
stars at the spectacle of a new world. 

" He used to say of a certain excited, happy feeling, 
a sort of fey feeling, that you seemed to have swallowed 
a heavenly pigeon. And — well, he looked like that. But 
I knocked my vanity on the head and told it, ' Down to 
the other dogs.' I was used to young men ; I knew how 
little such manifestations could mean. But after that 
I used to set little lines in the things I wrote for him, 
very delicately, and sometimes I fancied I had caught 
a fish. It was most exciting." 

Hugh again impersonated a Chinese mandarin. 

" You see, he allowed so few people to know him, 
he moved with such difficulty in that formally laid-out, 
small, professional world, with its endless leaving of 
cards and showing yourself on the proper days. I think 
they considered him a sort of Huron afflicted with genius, 
and forgave him. He ran away from them, he fought 
them off. And to feel that there was a magic spider- 
web between this creature and me, new every day and 



244 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

invisible to everybody else and dripping with poetry like 
dewdrops ! Can't you fancy the intoxication ? I was 
nineteen. ... I had engaged myself to be married to 
Beverly Shirley. I had known him all my life — before 
I left home — but I had absolutely no conviction of dis- 
loyalty. This was different ; this was another life." 

" Another you," agreed Hugh, as one who took exotic 
states of mind for granted. 

" Well, yes. ... It was one of those awful at-homes 
of Madame Normand's. She took American girls en 
pension, and she was supposed to look after us severely ; 
but as she was an American herself, of course she gave 
us a great deal of liberty. She was the wife of a pro- 
fesseur, and she had rather an imposing salon, so she 
received just so often, and you had to go or she never 
stopped asking you why. You have been to those French 
receptions ? " 

" Where they serve music and syrup and little hard 
cakes, and you carry away the impression of a lordly 
function because of the scenery and the manners? In- 
deed yes ! " 

" I slid away after a while, out upon the iron balcony, 
filled with new lilacs, that overhung the garden. Some- 
thing had hurt my little feelings ; a letter hadn't come, 
perhaps. I remember how dark and warm the night 
was, like a gulf under me, and the stars and the lights 
of Paris seemed very much alike and rather disappoint- 
ing. Then I heard his voice behind me, and I was 
as overwhelmed as — as Daphne or Danae or one of those 
pagan ladies might have been when the god came. 

" He said, ' What are you doing, hanging over this 
dark, romantic chasm?' And I just had presence of 
mind enough to play up. 

" ' Naturally, I'm wailing for a phantom lover.' Then 
the answer to that flashed on me and I said in a hurry, 
' I thought you never came to these things.' 

" ' I came to see you ' — he really said it — and then, 
* And — am I sufficiently demoniacal ? ' And he had swal- 
lowed a pigeon. 

' ' Oh dear, no ! ' said I. ' You are much too respec- 
table. You are from Boston.' 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 245 

" * And you from Virginia," said he. ' I hear that a 
certain Stewart once unjustifiably claimed kinship with 
your branch of the family and has since been known as 
the Pretender/ 

" * That is quite true,' said I. ' And I hear that once 
when the Ark ran aground a little voice was heard 
piping : ' Save me ! save me ! I am a Fowler of Bos- 
ton!' 

" That was the silly way we began. Isn't it incredi- 
ble?" 

" He could be silly — that was one of the lovable 
things," Hugh mused. " And he could say the most 
nakedly natural things. But he generally used the man- 
darin dialect. He thought in it, I suppose." 

" No," the stranger corrected him. " He thought in 
thoughts. Brilliant people always do. The words just 
wait like a — a " 

"Layette," said Hugh. "What else did he say?" 

" The next I remember we were leaning together, all 
but touching. And he was telling me about the little 
green gate." 

Hugh's hand shut. " He always called it that. Was 
he thinking of it even then ? " 

" Oh yes ! " 

" He never was like a person of this world," said 
Hugh, under his breath. 

" The loneliest creature I ever knew." 

They fell silent, like two old friends whose sorrow is 
the same. 

" He believed," Hugh went on, after a moment, " that 
when life became intolerable you had a perfect right 
to take the shortest way out. And he thought of it as 
a little green gate, swinging with its shadow in the twi- 
light, so that a touch would let you into the sweetest, 
dimmest old garden." 

" But he loved life." 

" Sometimes. The colour of it and the unexpected- 
ness. He believed the world didn't have any definite 
plan, but just wandered along the road and picked up 
adventures. And he loved that. He said God made a 
new earth every day and he rather fancied a new heaven 



246 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

oftener. But he got so dead tired at the end, homesick 
for underground. ... I wonder ..." 

The little woman was looking past him, straight into 
an evocation of a vanished presence that was so real, 
so nearly tangible, that Hugh was forced to lay violent 
hands upon his absurd impulse to glance over his shoul- 
der. " I wouldn't let him," she said, in a tone the young 
man had never heard before. 

" You mean ..." 

" I couldn't bear it. I made him promise me that he 
wouldn't. I can't tell you that. We talked for a long 
time, and the night was full of doom. He was tired 
then, but that wasn't all. He felt what was coming — 
the Shadow . . . and he was in terror. What he dreaded 
most was that it might change him in some way, make 
him something beastly and devilish — he who had always 
loved whatever was lovely and merciful and of good 
report." 

Hugh got up with a shudder. " Hush ! " he said, 
sharply. " It's too ghastly. Don't tell me any more 
about it." He wandered across the room, pulling a leaf 
from the azaleas, stopping at the window for a long 
look out. The wind was blowing some riotous young 
clouds over the sky like inarticulate shouts. There was 
an arrogant bird in the elm ; there were pert crocus- 
buds in the window-boxes. The place was full of fool- 
hardy little dare-devils who trusted their fate and might 
never find it out. After all, that was the way to live — 
as long as one was allowed. He turned suddenly with 
his whimsical smile. " I look out o' window quite a 
bit," he explained, " well, because of my aunt Maria." 
When he sat down again in the Sheraton chair Mrs. 
Shirley shifted her story to the plane of the smile. 

" I don't know how late it was when Madame Nor- 
mand popped her head out of the balcony door." 

" ' Who was then surprised ? It was the lady,' as dear 
old Brantome says ? " 

" It was everybody. The company had gone and 
Melanie the bonne was putting out the candles. 

" * Miss Stewart and I have just discovered that we 
are very nearly related,' said he. 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 247 

" ' But how delightful/ said Madame, thoroughly an- 
noyed/' 

" And the other time," Hugh hinted. What he wanted 
to say was, " So you prevented it, you kept him here, 
God bless you ! " His natural resilience had asserted 
itself. Vistas were opening. The Hugh who accepted 
life for what it was worth was again in the ascendant, 
but he found a second to call up the other Hugh, whose 
legal residence was somewhere near the threshold of 
consciousness, to take notice. He had always known 
that there must have been something in Uncle Hugh's 
girl. 

" That was a few days later, the afternoon before I 
left Paris. I went quite suddenly. Somebody was sick 
at home, and I had the chance to travel with some friends 
who were going. He had sent me flowers — no, not 
roses." 

" Narcissus ? " 

" Yes. Old Monsieur Normand was scandalized ; it 
seems one doesn't send yellow flowers to a jeune fille. 
To me it was the most incredibly thoughtful and original 
thing. All the other girls had gone with Madame to a 
very special piano recital, in spite of a drizzling rain. 
It had turned cool, too, I remember, because there was 
a wood fire in the little sitting-room — not the salon, but 
the girls' room. Being an American, Madame was al- 
most lavish about fires. And it was a most un-French 
room, the most careless little place, where the second- 
best piano lived, and the lilacs, when they were taken 
in out of the cold. There were sweet old curtains, and 
a long sofa in front of the fireplace instead of the tradi- 
tional armchairs. Anybody's books and bibelots lay 
about. I was playing." 

" What ? " This was important. 

" What would a girl play, over twenty years ago, in 
Paris? In the crepasculc, with the lilacs that embaiimcnt, 
as they say there, and with a sort of panic in her mind? 
Because, after all, the man to whom one is engaged is 
a man whom one knows very slightly." 

"Absolutely," said Hugh. 

"And I didn't want to leave Paris. ... Of course I 



248 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

was playing Chopin bits, with an ache in my heart to 
match, that I couldn't bear and was enjoying to the ut- 
most. What do girls play now? Then all of us had 
attacks of Chopin. Madame used to laugh and say, 
' 1 hear the harbour bar still moaning,' and order that 
particular girl's favourite dessert. She spoiled us. And 
Monsieur would say something about si jeunesse savait. 
He was a nice old man, not very successful ; his col- 
leagues patronized him. Oh yes, he was obvious ! 

" And then Melanie opened the door and announced, 
'Monsieur, le cousin de Mademoiselle/ I don't know 
what made her do it except a general wish to be kind. 
She remembered from the other night, and, besides, she 
hated to attempt English names ; she made salmi of 
them." 

Hugh had ceased to hold her eyes long ago. They 
looked into the window's square of light. He had no 
wish to intrude his presence. She was finding it natural 
to tell him, just as he had acknowledged her right to 
explore the intimate places of his soul. Things simply 
happened that way sometimes, and one was humbly 
thankful. 

" ' Go on,' he said. ' Don't stop.' He sat in a corner 
of the sofa, and for a while the impetus of my start 
carried me on. Then the bottom dropped out of Chopin. 
I went over and sat in the other corner. It was a long 
sofa ; it felt as long as the world. 

" Do you remember that heart-breakingly beautiful 
voice of his that could make you feel anything he was 
feeling? It was like magic. He said at last: 

" ' So you are going home to be married? ' 

" I nodded. 

Betty,' he said, ' are you happy, quite happy, about 
— everything ? ' 

" ' Oh yes ! " I said. ' Oh yes, Professor Fowler ! ' 
The curious thing about it was that I spoke the truth, 
when I considered it seriously. 

" He said, ' Then that's all right.' Then he laughed 
a little and said, 'Do you always call me Professor 
Fowler, even when you shut your door on the world at 
night and are all alone with God and the silence ? ' 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 249 

" ' And Claudia Jones/ I added, stupidly. 

" He considered that seriously and said, ' I didn't know 
about Claudia Jones ; she may inhibit even the silence 
and the other ingredient. I suppose you call me Teacher.' 

" I cried out at that. * I might call you cher maitre, 
as they do her.' 

" He said, ' That may do for the present.' 

" We looked into the fire and the lilacs filled the pause 
as adequately as Chopin could have done. All at once 
he got up and came over to me — it seemed the most 
natural thing in the world — across that wilderness of 
sofa. 

" ' I suppose/ he said, ' that you won't let me off that 
promise.' r 

" ' No, no ! ' I cried, all my old panic flooding over 
me again. I threw my hands out, and suddenly he had 
caught them in his and was holding me half away from 
him, and he was saying, in that tragic voice of his : 

" ' No, no ! But give me something to make it bear- 
able.' " 

" Allah, the compassionate ! " sighed Hugh, in ecstasy. 
He had never dared hope for all this. His very being 
went on tiptoe for fear of breathing too loud. 

" We sat there for ages and ages, gazing into the fire, 
not saying a word. Then he spoke . . . every now and 
then. He said: 

" ' The horrible thing would have been never to have 
known you. Now that I've touched you I'm magnetized 
for life. I can't lose you again.' 

" ' It isn't I,' I told him. ' It's only what you think 
me.' 

" l You are the only creature outside of myself that I 
ever found myself in,' he said. ' And I could look into 
you like Narcissus until I died. You are home and Nir- 
vana. That's what you are. When I look at you I 
believe in God. You gallantest, most foolhardy, little, 
fragile thing, you, you're not afraid of anything. You 
trust this rotten life, don't you? You expect to find 
lovely things everywhere, and you will, just because 
they'll spring up around your feet. You'll save your 
world like all redeemers simply by being in it.' 



250 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" No woman ever had such things said to her as he 
said to me. But most of the time we said nothing. 
There wasn't any past or future ; there was only the 
touch of his shoulder and his hands all around mine. 
It was like coming in out of the cold ; it was like being 
on a hill above the sea, and listening to the wind in the 
pines until you don't know which is the wind and which 
is you. . . . 

" It couldn't last forever. After a while something 
like a little point of pain began worrying my mind. 

" ' But there won't be . . . This is good-bye,' I cried. 

" ' Don't you believe it,' he said. ' God Himself 
couldn't make us say good-bye again.' He got up and 
drew me with him. It was quite dark now except for 
the fire, and his eyes . . . they were like those of the 
Djinns who were made out of elemental fire instead of 
earth. ' You'll come to me in the blessed sunshine,' he 
said, ' and in music, and in the best impulses of my 
own soul. If I were an old-fashioned lover I should 
promise to wait for you in heaven. . . . Betty, Betty, I 
have you in heaven now and forever ! ' . . .1 felt his 
cheek on mine. Then he was gone. That was all ; that 
was every bit of all." 

"And he had that to live on for the rest of his life." 
Hugh broke the silence under his breath. " Well, thank 
God he had something!" 

The little woman fumbled in her bag for a handker- 
chief and shamelessly dried her eyes. As she moved, a 
brown object fell from the corner of the couch across 
her lap. Hugh held his hand out for the morocco port- 
folio. 

" It seems to have the homing instinct," he observed ; 
then, abruptly, "Wait a moment; I'm going to call them 
back." He paused, as usual, before his favourite con- 
fidant, the window. " The larger consciousness, the 
Universal Togetherness," he muttered. " I really believe 

he must have touched it that once. O Lord! how " 

His spacious vocabulary gave it up. 

When he followed his uncle and aunt into the room 
Mrs. Shirley came forward, her thin veil again covering 
her face. 



THE HIGH COST OF CONSCIENCE 251 

" I must go," she said. " Thank you once more for 
letting me come." 

With a curious young touch of solemnity Hugh laid 
the brown case in her hands. " This belongs to you," 
he said, " and I wanted them to see you receive it." 

" And you intend to permit this, Winthrop ? " 

Miss Fowler turned on her brother. She had sup- 
pressed her emotions before the intruder; she had even 
said some proper things without unduly speeding the 
parting guest. But if you can't be hateful to your 
own family, to whom, in the name of the domestic 
pieties, can you be hateful ? 

Mr. Fowler swiveled on her the glassy eye of one who 
does not suffer fools gladly. " I permit anything," he 
responded, icily, " that will keep that boy . . . sane." 
He retired anew behind the monastic newspaper and 
rattled it. 

Miss Maria received a sudden chill apprehension that 

Winthrop was looking much older lately. " But " she 

faltered. Then she resolutely returned to the baiting. 
" I suppose you recall her saying that she has a daugh- 
ter. Probably," admitted Miss Maria, grudgingly, "an 
attractive daughter." 

"' It might be a very good thing," said the world- 
weary voice, and left her gasping. " Two excellent Vir- 
ginia families." He faced his sister's appalled expres- 
sion. " He might do something much more impossible 
— marry a cheap actress or go into a monastery. His 
behaviour to-day prepares me for anything. And " — a 
note of difficulty came into what Hugh had once called 
his uncle's chiselled voice — " you do not appear to realize, 
Maria, that what Mrs. Shirley has done is rather a re- 
markable thing, a thing that you and I, with our un- 
doubted appreciation of the value of money, should prob- 
ably have felt that we could not afford to do." 

Hugh came in blithely, bringing a spring-smelling 
whiff of outdoors with him. " I got her a taxi," he an- 
nounced, " and she asked me to come down to their place 
for Easter. There's a hunting club. Oh, cheer up, Aunt 
Maria ! At least she left the money behind." 



252 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" Look at my needle ! " cried the long-suffering lady. 
" You did that. I must say, Hugh, I find your conduct 
most disrespectful." 

" All right, I grovel," Hugh agreed, pleasantly. He 
picked up the cat and rubbed her tenderly the wrong 
way. 

" As for the money, I don't see how her conscience 
could have allowed her to accept everything. And she 
married somebody else, too." 

" So did Dante's girl. That doesn't seem to make 
all the difference. Conscience ? " Hugh went on, ab- 
sently. " Conscience ? Haven't I heard that word some- 
where before? You are the only person I know, Aunt 
Maria, who has a really good, staunch, weather-proof 
one, because, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, 
it altereth not." 

" I should hope not, indeed," said Miss Fowler, half 
mollified. 

Hugh smiled sleepily. The cat opened one yellow eye 
and moved mystified whiskers. She profoundly dis- 
trusted this affectionate young admirer. Was she being 
stroked the wrong way or ruffled the right way? 

1 Tiger, tiger, burning bright," murmured Hugh. 
" Puzzle, Kitty : find the Adventuress." 



THE KITCHEN GODS 

By G. F. ALSOP 
From Century Magazine 

THE lilies bloomed that day. Out in the courtyard, 
in their fantastic green-dragoned pots, one by one 
the tiny, ethereal petals opened. Dong-Yung went raptu- 
rously among them, stooping low to inhale their faint 
fragrance. The square courtyard, guarded on three sides 
by the wings of the house, facing the windowless blank 
wall on the fourth, was mottled with sunlight. Just this 
side of the wall a black shadow, as straight and opaque 
as the wall itself, banded the court with darkness; but 
on the hither side, where the lilies bloomed and Dong- 
Yung moved among them, lay glittering, yellow sunlight. 
The little box of a house where the gate-keeper lived 
made a bulge in the uniform blackness of the wall and 
its shadow. The two tall poles, with the upturned baskets, 
the devil-catches, rose like flagstaffs from both sides of 
the door. A huge china griffon stood at the right of the 
gate. From beyond the wall came the sounds of early 
morning — the click of wooden sandals on cobbled streets 
and the panting cries of the coolies bringing in fresh 
vegetables or carrying back to the denuded land the 
refuse of the city. The gate-keeper was awake, brush- 
ing out his house with a broom of twigs. He was quite 
bald, and the top of his head was as tanned and brown 
as the legs of small summer children. 

" Good morning, Honourable One," he called. " It 
is a good omen. The lilies have opened." 

An amah, blue-trousered, blue-jacketed, blue-aproned, 
cluttered across the courtyard with two pails of steaming 
water. 

" Good morning, Honourable One. The water for the 
great wife is hot and heavy." She dropped her buckets, 

253 



254 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

the water splashing over in runnels and puddles at her 
feet, and stooped to smell the lilies. " It is an auspicious 
day." 

From the casement-window in the right balcony a voice 
called : 

" Thou dunce ! Here I am waiting already half the 
day. Quicker ! quicker ! " 

It sounded elderly and querulous, a voice accustomed 
to be obeyed and to dominate. The great wife's face 
appeared a moment at the casement. Her eyes swept 
over the courtyard scene — over the blooming lilies, and 
Dong- Yung standing among them. 

" Behold the small wife, cursed of the gods ! " she 
cried in her high, shrill voice. " Not even a girl can 
she bear her master. May she eat bitterness all her 
days ! " 

The amah shouldered the steaming buckets and 
splashed across the bare boards of the ancestral hall 
beyond. 

" The great wife is angry," murmured the gate-keeper. 
"Oh, Honourable One, shall I admit the flower-girl? 
She has fresh orchids." 

Dong- Yung nodded. The flower girl came slowly in 
under the guarded gateway. She was a country child, 
with brown cheeks and merry eyes. Her shallow basket 
was steadied by a ribbon over one shoulder, and caught 
between an arm and a swaying hip. In the flat, round 
basket, on green little leaves, lay the wired perfumed 
orchids. 

" How many ? It is an auspicious day. See, the 
lilies have bloomed. One for the hair and two for 
the buttonholes. They smell sweet as the breath of 
heaven itself." 

Dong- Yung smiled as the flower-girl stuck one of the 
fragrant, fragile, green-striped orchids in her hair, and 
hung two others, caught on delicate loops of wire, on 
the jade studs of her jacket, buttoned on the right 
shoulder. 

" Ah, you are beautif ul-come-death ! " said the flower- 
girl. " Great happiness be thine ! " 

" Even a small wife can be happy at times." Dong- 



THE KITCHEN GODS 255 

Yung took out a little woven purse, and paid over two 
coppers apiece to the flower-girl. 

At the gate the girl and the gate-keeper fell a-talking. 

" Is the morning rice ready ? " called a man's voice 
from the room behind. 

Dong- Yung turned quickly. Her whole face changed. 
It had been smiling and pleased before at the sight of 
the faint, white lily-petals and the sunlight on her feet 
and the fragrance of the orchids in her hair; but now 
it was lit with an inner radiance. 

" My beloved Master ! " Dong- Yung made a little 
instinctive gesture toward the approaching man, which 
in a second was caught and curbed by Chinese etiquette. 
Dressed, as she was, in pale-gray satin trousers, loose, 
and banded at the knee with wide blue stripes, and with 
a soft jacket to match, she was as beautiful in the eyes 
of the approaching man as the newly opened lilies. 
What he was in her eyes it would be hard for any mod- 
ern woman to grasp: that rapture of adoration, that 
bliss of worship, has lingered only in rare hearts and 
rarer spots on the earth's surface. 

Foh-Kyung came out slowly through the ancestral 
hall. The sunlight edged it like a bright border. The 
doors were wide open, and Dong- Yung saw the decor- 
ous rows of square chairs and square tables set rhythm- 
ically along the walls, and the covered dais at the head 
for the guest of honour. Long crimson scrolls, sprawled 
with gold ideographs, hung from ceiling to floor. A 
rosewood cabinet, filled with vases, peach bloom, im- 
perial yellow, and turquoise blue, gleamed like a lighted 
lamp in the shadowy morning light of the room. 

Foh-Kyung stooped to smell the lilies. 

" They perfume the very air we breathe. Little Jewel, 
I love our old Chinese ways. I love the custom of the 
lily-plantiing and the day the lilies bloom. I love to 
think the gods smell them in heaven, and are gracious 
to mortals for their fragrance's sake." 

" I am so happy ! " Dong- Yung said, poking the toe 
of her slipper in and out the sunlight. She looked up 
at the man before her, and saw he was tall and slim 
and as subtle-featured as the cross-legged bronze Budd- 



256 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

ha himself. His long, thin hands were hid, crossed 
and slipped along the wrists within the loose apricot 
satin sleeves of his brocaded garment. His feet, in 
their black satin slippers and tight-fitting white muslin 
socks, were austere and aristocratic. Dong- Yung, when 
he was absent, loved best to think of him thus, with his 
hands hidden and his eyes smiling. 

" The willow-leaves will bud soon/' answered Dong- 
Yung, glancing over her shoulder at the tapering, yel- 
lowing twigs of the ancient tree. 

" And the beech-blossoms," continued Foh-Kyung. 
" ' The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.' " 

" The foreign devil's wisdom," answered Dong- 
Yung. 

" It is greater than ours, Dong- Yung ; greater and 
lovelier. To-day, to-day, I will go to their hall of cere- 
monial worship and say to their holy priest that I think 
and believe the Jesus way." 

" Oh, most-beloved Master, is it also permitted to 
women, to a small wife, to believe the Jesus way?" 

" I will believe for thee, too, little Lotus Flower in 
the Pond." 

" Tell me, O Teacher of Knowledge — tell me that in 
my heart and in my mind I may follow a little way 
whither thou goest in thy heart and in thy mind ! " 

Foh-Kyung moved out of the shadow of the ancestral 
hall and stood in the warm sunlight beside Dong-Yung, 
his small wife. His hands were still withheld and hid- 
den, clasping his wrists within the wide, loose apricot 
sleeves of his gown, but his eyes looked as if they 
touched her. Dong- Yung hid her happiness even as 
the flowers hide theirs, within silent, incurving petals. 

" The water is cold as the chill of death. Go, bring 
me hot water — water hot enough to scald an egg. ,f 

Foh-Kyung and Dong- Yung turned to the casement 
in the upper right-hand wing and listened apprehen- 
sively. The quick chatter of angry voices rushed out 
into the sunlight. 

" The honourable great wife is very cross this morn- 
ing." Dong- Yung shivered and turned back to the lilies. 
" To-day perhaps she will beat me again. Would that 



THE KITCHEN GODS 257 

at least I had borne my lord a young prince for a son; 
then perhaps " 

" Go not near her, little Jewel. Stay in thine own 
rooms. Nay, I have sons a-plenty. Do not regret the 
childlessness. I would not have your body go down 
one foot into the grave for a child. I love thee for 
thyself." 

" Now my lord speaks truly, as do the foreign devils 
to the shameless, open-faced women. I like the ways 
of the outside kingdom well. Tell me more of them, 
my Master." 

Foh-Kyung moved his hands as if he would have 
withdrawn them from his apricot-coloured sleeves. 
Dong- Yung saw the withheld motion, and swayed nearer. 
For a moment Dong- Yung saw the look in his eyes that 
engulfed her in happiness; then it was gone, and he 
looked away past her, across the opening lily-buds and 
the black rampart of the wall, at something distant, yet 
precious. Foh-Kyung moved closer. His face changed. 
His eyes held that hidden rapture that only Dong- 
Yung and the foreign-born priest had seen. 

" Little Jewel, wilt thou go with me to the priest of 
the foreign-born faith ? Come ! " He withdrew his 
hand from his sleeve and touched Dong-Yung on the 
shoulder. " Come, we will go hand in hand, thou and 
I, even as the men and women of the Jesus thinking; 
not as Chinese, I before, and thou six paces behind. 
Their God loves men and women alike." 

" Is it permitted to a small wife to worship the for- 
eign-born God?" Dong- Yung lifted her eyes to the 
face of Foh-Kyung. " Teach me, O my Lord Master ! 
My understanding is but young and fearful " 

Foh-Kyung moved into the sunlight beside her. 

" Their God loves all the world. Their God is dif- 
ferent, little Flower, from the painted images, full of 
blessings, not curses. He loves even little girl babies 
that mothers would throw away. Truly his heart is still 
more loving than the heart of a mother." 

" And yet I am fearful " Dong- Yung looked 

back into the shadows of the guest-hall, where the an- 
cestral tablets glowed upon the wall, and crimson tapers 



258 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

stood ready before them. " Our gods I have touched 
and handled." 

" Nay, in the Jesus way there is no fear left." Foh- 
Kyung's voice dropped lower. Its sound filled Dong- 
Yong with longing. " When the wind screams in the 
chimneys at night, it is but the wind, not evil spirits. 
When the summer breeze blows in at the open door, 
we need not bar it. It is but the summer breeze from 
the rice-fields, uninhabited by witch-ghosts. When we 
eat our morning rice, we are compelled to make no 
offering to the kitchen gods in the stove corner. They 
cannot curse our food. Ah, in the Jesus way there is 
no more fear ! " 

Dong- Yung drew away from her lord and master 
and looked at him anxiously. He was not seeing her 
at all. His eyes looked beyond, across the fragile, lily- 
petals, through the solid black wall, at a vision he saw 
in the world. Dong- Yung bent her head to sniff the 
familiar sweet springtime orchid hanging from the jade 
stud on her shoulder. 

" Your words are words of good hearing, O beloved 
Teacher. Nevertheless, let me follow six paces behind. 
I am not worthy to touch your hand. Six paces behind, 
when the sun shines in your face, my feet walk in the 
shadow of your garments." 

Foh-Kyung gathered his gaze back from his visions 
and looked at his small wife, standing in a pool of sun- 
shine before him. Overhead the lazy crows flew by, 
winging out from their city roosts to the rice-fields for 
the day's food. 

" Tea-boiled eggs ! " cried a vender from beyond the 
wall. A man stopped at the gate, put down his shoulder- 
tray of food, and bargained with the ancient, mahogany- 
scalped gate-keeper. Faint odours of food frying in oil 
stole out from the depths of the house behind him. And 
Dong-Yung, very quiet and passive in the pose of her 
body, gazed up at Foh-Kyung with those strange, secre- 
tive, ardent eyes. All around him was China, its very 
essence and sound and smell. Dong- Yung was a part 
of ic all ; nay, she was even the very heart of it, swaying 
there in the yellow light among the lily-petals. 



THE KITCHEN GODS 259 

" Precious Jewel ! Yet it is sweeter to walk side by 
side, our feet stepping out into the sunlight together, 
and our shadows mingling behind. I want you beside 
me." 

The last words rang with sudden warmth. Dong- 
Yung trembled and crimsoned. It was not seemly that a 
man speak to a woman thus, even though that man was 
a husband and the woman his wife, not even though the 
words were said in an open court, where the eyes of 
the great wife might spy and listen. And yet Dong- 
Yung thrilled to those words. 

An amah called, " The morning rice is ready." 

Dong-Yung hurried into the open room, where the 
light was still faint, filtering in through a high-silled 
window and the door. A round, brown table stood in 
the center of the room. In the corner of the room be- 
hind stood the crescentic, white plaster stove, with its 
dull wooden kettle-lids and its crackling straw. Two 
cooks, country women, sat in the hidden corner behind 
the stove, and poked in the great bales of straw and gos- 
siped. Their voices and the answers of the serving amah 
filled the kitchen with noise. In their decorous niche 
at the upper right hand of the stove sat the two kitchen 
gods, small ancient idols, with hidden hands and crossed 
feet, gazing out upon a continually hungry world. 
Since time was they had sat there, ensconced at the very 
root of life, seemingly placid and unseeing and unhear- 
ing, yet venomously watching to be placated with food. 
Opposite the stove, on the white wall, hung a row of 
brass hooks, from which dangled porcelain spoons with 
pierced handles. On a serving-table stood the piled 
bowls for the day, blue-and-white rice patterns, of a thin, 
translucent ware, showing the delicate light through the 
rice seeds ; red-and-green dragoned bowls for the pud- 
dings; and tiny saucer-like platters for the vegeta- 
bles. The tea-cups, saucered and lidded, but unhan- 
dled, stood in a row before the polished brass hot-water 
kettle. 

The whole room was full of a stirring, wakening life, 
of the crackling straw fire, of the steaming rice, all 
white and separate-kerneled in its great, shallow, black 



2 6o PRIZE STORIES 19 19 

iron kettles, lidded with those heavy hand-made wooden 
lids, while the boiling tea water hissed, and spat out a 
snake of white steam. 

With that curious democracy of China, where high 
and low alike are friendly, Dong-Yung hurried into her 
beloved kitchen. 

" Has the master come ? " asked the serving maid. 

" Coming, coming," Dong- Yung answered, " I my- 
self will take in his morning rice, after I have offered 
the morning oblations to the gods." 

Dong- Yung selected two of the daintiest blue-and- 
white rice-pattern bowls. The cook lifted off the wooden 
lid of the rice-kettle, and Dong-Yung scooped up a dip- 
perful of the snow-white kernels. On the tiny shelf 
before each god, the father and mother god of the house- 
hold, Dong- Yung placed her offering. She stood off a 
moment, surveying them in pleased satisfaction — the 
round, blue bowls, with the faint tracery of light ; the 
complacent gods above, red and green and crimson, so 
age-long, comfortably ensconced in their warm stove cor- 
ner. She made swift obeisance with her hands and 
body before those ancient idols. A slant of sunshine 
swept in from the high windows and fell over her in 
a shaft of light. The thoughts of her heart were all 
warm and mixed and confused. She was happy. She 
loved her kitchen, her gods, all the familiar ways of 
Chinese life. She loved her silken, satin clothes, per- 
fumed and embroidered and orchid-crowned, yet most 
of all she loved her lord and master. Perhaps it was 
this love for him that made all the rest of life so pre- 
cious, that made each bowl of white rice an oblation, 
each daily act a glorification. So she flung out her 
arms and bent her head before the kitchen gods, the 
symbol of her ancient happiness. 

" Dong- Yung, I do not wish you to do this any more." 

Dong- Yung turned, her obeisance half arrested in 
mid-air. Foh-Kyung stood in the doorway. 

" My lord," stammered Dong- Yung, " I did not under- 
stand your meaning." 

" I know that, little Flower in my House. The new 
meaning is hard to understand. I, too, am but a blind 



THE KITCHEN GODS 261 

child unused to the touch of the road. But the kitchen 
gods matter no more ; we pray to a spirit." 

Foh-Kyung, in his long apricot-coloured garment, 
crossed the threshold of the kitchen, crossed the shadow 
and sunlight that stripped the bare board floor, and stood 
before the kitchen gods. His eyes were on a level with 
theirs, strange, painted wooden eyes that stared forth 
inscrutably into the eating centuries. Dong-Yung stood 
half bowed, breathless with a quick, cold fear. The 
cook, one hand holding a shiny brown dipper, the other 
a porcelain dish, stood motionless at the wooden table 
under the window. From behind the stove peeped the 
frightened face of one of the fire-tenders. The whole 
room was turned to stone, motionless, expectant, await- 
ing the releasing moment of arousement — all, that is, 
but the creeping sunshine, sliding nearer and nearer the 
crossed feet of the kitchen gods ; and the hissing steam 
fire, warming, coddling the hearts of the gods. Sun 
at their feet, fire at their hearts, food before them, and 
mortals turned to stone ! 

Foh-Kyung laughed softly, standing there, eye-level 
with the kitchen gods. He stretched out his two hands, 
and caught a god in each. A shudder ran through the 
motionless room. 

' It is wickedness ! " The porcelain dish fell from 
the hand of the cook, and a thousand rice-kernels, like 
scattered pearls, ran over the floor. 

" A blasphemer," the fire-tender whispered, peering 
around the stove with terrified eyes. " This household 
will bite off great bitterness." 

Foh-Kyung walked around the corner of the stove. 
The fire sparked and hissed. The sunshine filled the 
empty niche. Not since the building of the house and 
the planting of the tall black cypress-trees around it, 
a hundred years ago, had the sunlight touched the wall 
behind the kitchen gods. 

Dong- Yung sprang into life. She caught Foh-Kyung's 
sleeve. 

" O my Lord and Master, I pray you, do not utterly 
cast them away into the burning, fiery furnace ! I fear 
some evil will befall us." 



262 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Foh-Kyung, a green-and-gold god in each hand, 
stopped and turned. His eyes smiled at Dong- Yung. 
She was so little and so precious and so afraid ! Dong- 
Yung saw the look of relenting. She held his sleeve 
the tighter. 

" Light of my Eyes, do good deeds to me. My faith 
is but a little faith. How could it be great unto thy 
great faith? Be gentle with my kitchen gods. Do not 
utterly destroy them. I will hide them." 

Foh-Kyung smiled yet more, and gave the plaster 
gods into her hands as one would give a toy to a child. 

" They are thine. Do with them as thou wilt, but 
no more set them up in this stove corner and offer 
them morning rice. They are but painted, plastered 
gods. I worship the spirit above." 

Foh-Kyung sat down at the men's table in the men's 
room beyond. An amah brought him rice and tea. 
Other men of the household there was none, and he 
ate his meal alone. From the women's room across 
the court came a shrill round of voices. The voice 
of the great wife was loudest and shrillest. The voices 
of the children, his sons and daughters, rose and fell 
with clear childish insistence among the older voices. 
The amah's voice laughed with an equal gaiety. 

Dong- Yung hid away the plastered green-and-gold 
gods. Her heart was rilled with a delicious fear. Her 
lord was even master of the gods. He picked them 
up in his two hands, he carried them about as care- 
lessly as a man carries a boy child astride his shoul- 
der ; he would even have cast them into the fire ! 
Truly, she shivered with delight. Nevertheless, she was 
glad she had hidden them safely away. In the corner 
of the kitchen stood a box of white pigskin with beaten 
brass clasps made like the outspread wings of a butterfly. 
Underneath the piles of satin she had hidden them, and 
the key to the butterfly clasps was safe in her belt- 
jacket. 

Dong- Yung stood in the kitchen door and watched 
Foh-Kyung. 

" Does my lord wish for anything ? " 

Foh-Kyung turned, and saw her standing there in the 



THE KITCHEN GODS 263 

doorway. Behind her were the white stove and the sun- 
filled, empty niche. The light flooded through the door- 
way. Foh-Kyung set down his rice-bowl from his left 
hand and his ivory chop-sticks from his right. He stood 
before her. 

" Truly, Dong- Yung, I want thee. Do not go away 
and leave me. Do not cross to the eating-room of the 
women and children. Eat with me." 

" It has not been heard of in the Middle Kingdom 
for a woman to eat with a man." 

" Nevertheless, it shall be. Come ! " 

Dong-Yung entered slowly. The light in this dim 
room was all gathered upon the person of Foh-Kyung, 
in the gleaming patterned roses of his gown, in his deep 
amethyst ring, in his eyes. Dong- Yung came because 
of his eyes. She crossed the room slowly, swaying with 
that peculiar grace of small-footed women, till she stood 
at the table beside Foh-Kyung. She was now even more 
afraid than when he would have cast the kitchen gods 
into the fire. They were but gods, kitchen gods, that 
he was about to break; this was the primeval bondage 
of the land, ancient custom. 

" Give me thy hand and look up with thine eyes and 
thy heart." 

Dong- Yung touched his hand. Foh-Kyung looked up 
as if he saw into the ether beyond, and there saw a spirit 
vision of ineffable radiance. But Dong- Yung watched 
him. She saw him transfigured with an inner light. His 
eyes moved in prayer. The exaltation spread out from 
him to her, it tingled through their finger-tips, it covered 
her from head to foot. 

Foh-Kyung drooped her hand and moved. Dong-Yung 
leaned nearer. 

" I, too, would believe the Jesus way." 

In the peculiar quiet of mid-afternoon, when the shad- 
ows begin to creep down from the eaves of the pagodas 
and zigzag across the rice-fields to bed, Foh-Kyung and 
Dong- Yung arrived at the camp-ground of the foreigners. 
The lazy native streets were still dull with the end of 
labour. At the gate of the camp-ground the rickshaw 
coolies tipped down the bamboo shafts, to the ground. 



264 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Dong- Yung stepped out quickly, and looked at her lord 
and master. He smiled. 

" Nay, I do not fear," Dong- Yung answered, with her 
eyes on his face. " Yet this place is strange, and lays a 
coldness around my heart." 

" Regard not their awkward ways," said Foh-Kyung, 
as he turned in at the gate ; " in their hearts they have 
the secret of life." 

The gate-keeper bowed, and slipped the coin, warm 
from Foh-Kyung's hand, into his ready pocket. 

"Walk beside me, little Wife of my Heart." Foh- 
Kyung stopped in the wide gravelled road and waited 
for Dong- Yung. Standing there in the sunlight, more 
vivid yet than the light itself, in his imperial yellow 
robes, he was the end of life, nay, life itself, to Dong- 
Yung. " We go to the house of the foreign priest to 
seek until we find the foreign God. Let us go side by 
side." 

Dong- Yung, stepping with slow, small-footed grace, 
walked beside him. 

" My understanding is as the understanding of a little 
child, beloved Teacher; but my heart lies like a shell in 
thy hand, its words but as the echo of thine. My honour 
is great that thou do not forget me in the magnitude of 
the search." 

Dong- Yung's pleated satin skirts swayed to and 
fro against the imperial yellow of Foh-Kyung's robe. 
Her face coloured like a pale spring blossom, looked 
strangely ethereal above her brocade jacket. Her 
heart still beat thickly, half with fear and half with 
the secret rapture of their quest and her lord's desire 
for her. 

Foh-Kyung took a silken and ivory fan from an inner 
pocket and spread it in the air. Dong- Yung knew the 
fan well. It came from a famous jeweller's on Nanking 
Road, and had been designed by an old court poet of 
long ago. The tiny ivory spokes were fretted like ivy- 
twigs in the North, but on the leaves of silk was painted 
a love-story of the South. There was a tea-house, with 
a maiden playing a lute, and the words of the song, fan- 
tastic black ideographs, floated off to the ears of her 



THE KITCHEN GODS 265 

lover. Foh-Kyung spread out its leaves in the sun, and 
looked at it and smiled." 

" Never is the heart of man satisfied," he said, " alone. 
Neither when the willow fuzz flies in the spring, or when 
the midnight snow silvers the palms. Least of all is it 
satisfied when it seeks the presence of God above. I 
want thee beside me." 

Dong- Yung hid her delight. Already for the third 
time he said those words — those words that changed all 
the world from one of a loving following-after to a 
marvelous oneness. 

So they stepped across the lawn together. It was to 
Dong- Yung as if she stepped into an unknown land. She 
walked on flat green grass. Flowers in stiff and ordered 
rows went sedately round and round beneath a lurid red 
brick wall. A strange, square-cornered, flat-topped house 
squatted in the midst of the flat green grass. On the 
lawn at one side was a white-covered table, with a man 
and a woman sitting beside it. The four corners of the 
table-cloth dripped downward to the flat green grass. 
It was all very strange and ugly. Perhaps it was a gar- 
den, but no one would have guessed it. Dong-Yung 
longed to put each flower plant in a dragon bowl by itself 
and place it where the sun caught its petals one by one 
as the hours flew by. She longed for a narrow, tile- 
edged patch to guide her feet through all that flat green 
expanse. A little shiver ran over her. She looked back, 
down the wide gravelled way, through the gate, where 
the gate-keeper sat, tipped back against the wall on his 
stool, to the shop of the money-changer's opposite. A 
boy leaned half across the polished wood counter and 
shook his fist in the face of the money-changer. " Thou 
thief !" he cried. "Give me my two cash ! " Dong-Yung 
was reassured. Around her lay all the dear familiar 
things ; at her side walked her lord and master. And 
he had said they were seeking a new freedom, a God 
of love. Her thoughts stirred at her heart and caught 
her breath away. 

The foreigners rose to greet them. Dong-Yung touched 
the hand of an alien man. She did not like it at all. The 
foreign-born woman made her sit down beside her, and 



266 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

offered her bitter, strong tea in delicate, lidless cups, with 
handles bent like a twisted flower-branch. 

" I have been meaning to call for a long time, Mrs. Li," 
said the foreign-born woman. 

" The great wife will receive thee with much honour," 
Dong- Yung answered. 

" I am so glad you came with your husband." 

" Yes," Dong- Yung answered, with a little smile. 
" The customs of the foreign-born are pleasant to our 
eyes." 

" I am glad you like them," said the foreign-born 
woman. " I couldn't bear not to go everywhere with 
my husband." 

Dong- Yung liked her suddenly on account of the look 
that sprang up a moment in her eyes and vanished again. 
She looked across at the priest, her husband, a man in 
black, with thin lips and seeing eyes. The eyes of the 
foreign woman, looking at the priest, her husband, showed 
how much she loved him. " She loves him even as a 
small wife loves," Dong- Yung thought to herself. Dong- 
Yung watched the two men, the one in imperial yellow, 
the one in black, sitting beside each other and talking. 
Dong- Yung knew they were talking of the search. The 
foreign-born woman was speaking to her again. 

" The doctor told me I would die if I came to China ; 
but John felt he had a call. I would not stand in his 
way." 

The woman's face was illumined. 

" And now you are very happy ? " Dong- Yung an- 
nounced. 

" And now I am very happy ; just as you will be very 
happy." 

' I am always happy since my lord took me for his 
small wife." Dong- Yung matched her happiness with 
the happiness of the foreign-born woman, proudly, with 
assurance. In her heart she knew no woman, born to 
eat bitterness, had ever been so happy as she in all the 
worlds beneath the heavens. She looked around her, 
beyond the failure of the foreign woman's garden, at the 
piled, peaked roofs of China looking over the wall. The 
fragrance of a blossoming plum-tree stole across from 



THE KITCHEN GODS 267 

a Chinese courtyard, and a peach-branch waved pink in 
the air. A wonder of contentment filled Dong-Yung. 

All the while Foh-Kyung was talking. Dong-Yung 
turned back from all the greenness around her to listen. 
He sat very still, with his hands hid in his sleeves. The 
wave-ridged hem of his robe — blue and green and purple 
and red and yellow — was spread out decorously above 
his feet. Dong- Yung looked and looked at him, so still 
and motionless and so gorgeously arrayed. She looked 
from his feet, long, slim, in black satin slippers, and 
close-fitting white muslin socks, to the feet of the foreign 
priest. His feet were huge, ugly black things. From his 
feet Dong- Yung's eyes crept up to his face, over his 
priestly black clothes, rimmed with stiff white at wrist 
and throat. Yes, his face was even as the face of a 
priest, of one who serves between the gods and men, a 
face of seeing eyes and a rigid mouth. Dong- Yung shud- 
dered. 

" And so we have come, even as the foreign-born 
God tells us, a man and his wife, to believe the Jesus 
way." 

Foh-Kyung spoke in a low voice, but his face smiled. 
Dong- Yung smiled, too, at his open, triumphant declara- 
tions. She said over his words to herself, under her 
breath, so that she would remember them surely when 
she wanted to call them back to whisper to her heart 
in the dark of some night. " We two, a man and his 
wife " — only dimly, with the heart of a little child, did 
Dong-Yung understand and follow Foh-Kyung; but the 
throb of her heart answered the hidden light in his eyes. 

The foreign-born priest stood up. The same light 
shone in his eyes. It was a rapture, an exaltation. Sud- 
denly an unheard-of- thing happened. The outside king- 
dom woman put her arms around Dong- Yung! Dong- 
Yung was terrified. She was held tight against the other 
woman's shoulder. The foreign-born woman used a 
strange perfume. Dong-Yung only half heard her whis- 
pered words. 

" We are like that, too. We could not be separated. 
Oh, you will be happy ! " 

Dong- Yung thought of the other woman. " In her 



268 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

heart she is humble and seemly. It is only her speech 
and her ways that are unfitting." 

" We are going into the chapel a moment," said the 
priest. " Will you come, too ? " 

Dong- Yung looked at Foh-Kyung, a swift upward 
glance, like the sudden sweep of wings. She read his 
answer in his eyes. He wanted her to come. Not even 
in the temple of the foreign-born God did he wish to 
be without her. 

A coolie called the foreign-born woman away. 

The priest, in his tight trousers, and jacket, black and 
covered with a multitude of round flat buttons, stood up, 
and led the way into the house and down a long corridor 
to a closed door at the end. Dong-Yung hurried behind 
the two men. At the door the priest stood aside and held 
it open for her to pass in first. She hesitated. Foh- 
Kyung nodded. 

" Do not think fearful things, little Princess," he whis- 
pered. " Enter, and be not afraid. There is no fear 
in the worship of Jesus." 

So Dong- Yung crossed the threshold first. Something 
caught her breath away, just as the chanting of the 
dragon priests always did. She took a few steps for- 
ward and stood behind a low-backed bench. Before her, 
the light streamed into the little chapel through one 
luminous window of coloured glass above the altar. It 
lay all over the grey-tiled floor in roses and sunflowers 
of pink and god. A deep purple stripe fell across the 
head of the black-robed priest. Dong- Yung was glad 
of that. It made his robe less hideous, and she could 
not understand how one could serve a god unless in 
beautiful robes. On the altar beneath the window of 
coloured flowers were two tall silver candlesticks, with 
smooth white tapers. A wide-mouthed vase filled with 
Chinese lilies stood between them. The whole chapel 
was faintly fragrant with their incense. So even the 
foreign-born worshipers lit candles, and offered the scent 
of the lilies to their spirit God. Truly, all the gods of 
all the earth and in the sky are lovers of lit candles and 
flowers. Also, one prays to all gods. 

The place was very quiet and peaceful, mottled with 



THE KITCHEN GODS 269 

the gorgeous, flowerlike splashes of colour. The waiting 
candles, the echoes of many prayers, the blossom of 
worship filled the tiny chapel. Dong- Yung liked it, de- 
spite herself, despite the strangeness of the imageless 
altar, despite the clothes of the priest. She stood quite 
still behind the bench flooded and filled with an all-per- 
vading sense of happiness. 

Foh-Kyung and the black-robed priest walked past 
her, down the little aisle, to a shiny brass railing that 
went like a fence round before the altar. The foreign- 
born priest laid one hand on the railing as if to kneel 
down, but Foh-Kyung turned and beckoned with his 
chin to Dong- Yung to come. She obeyed at once. She 
was surprisingly unafraid. Her feet walked through the 
patterns of colour, which slid over her head and hands, 
gold from the gold of a cross and purple from the robe 
of a king. As if stepping through a rainbow, she came 
slowly down the aisle to the waiting men, and in her 
heart and in her eyes lay the light of all love and trust. 

Foh-Kyung caught her hand. 

"See, I take her hand," he said to the priest, "even 
as you would take the hand of your wife, proud and 
unashamed in the presence of your God. Even as your 
love is, so shall ours be. Where the thoughts of my 
heart lead, the heart of my small wife follows. Give us 
your blessing." 

Foh-Kyung drew Dong- Yung to her knees beside him. 
His face was hidden, after the manner of the foreign 
worshipers ; but hers was uplifted, her eyes gazing at 
the glass with the colours of many flowers and the shapes 
of men and angels. She was happier than she had ever 
been — happier even than when she had first worshiped 
the ancestral tablets with her lord and master, happier 
even than at the feast of the dead, when they laid 
their food offerings on the shaven grave-mounds. She 
felt closer to Foh-Kyung than in all her life before. 

She waited. The silence grew and grew till in the 
heart of it something ominous took the place of its all- 
pervading peace. Foh-Kyung lifted his face from his 
hands and rose to his feet. Dong- Yung turned, still 
kneeling, to scan his eyes. The black-robed priest stood 



270 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

off and looked at them with horror. Surely it was hor- 
ror! Never had Dong- Yung really liked him. Slowly 
she rose, and stood beside and a little behind Foh-Kyung. 
He had not blessed them. Faintly, from beyond the 
walls of the Christian chapel came the beating of drums. 
Devil-drums they were. Dong- Yung half smiled at the 
long-known familiar sound. 

" Your small wife? " said the priest. " Have you an- 
other wife? " 

" Assuredly," Foh-Kyung answered. " All men have 
a great wife first; but this, my small wife, is the wife 
of my heart. Together we have come to seek and find 
the Jesus way." 

The priest wiped his hand across his face. Dong- 
Yung saw that it was wet with tiny round balls of 
sweat. His mouth had suddenly become one thin red 
line, but in his eyes lay pain. 

"Impossible," he said. His voice was quite different 
now, and sounded like bits of metal falling on stone. 
"No man can enter the church while living in sin with 
a woman other than his lawful wife. If your desire is 
real, put her away." 

With instant response, Foh-kyung made a stately bow. 

"Alas ! I have made a grievous mistake. The re- 
sponsibility will be on my body. I thought all were 
welcome. We go. Later on, perhaps, we may meet 
again." 

The priest spoke hurriedly. 

" I do not understand your meaning. Is this belief 
of such light weight that you will toss it away for a 
sinful woman? Put her away, and come and believe." 

But Foh-Kyung did not hear his words. As he turned 
away, Dong- Yung followed close behind her lord and 
master, only half comprehending, yet filled with a great 
fear. They went out again into the sunshine, out across 
the flat green grass, under the iron gateway, back into 
the Land of the Flowery Kingdom. Foh-Kyung did not 
speak until he put Dong- Yung in the rickshaw. 

" Little Wife of my Heart," he said, " stop at the 
jeweller's and buy thee new ear-rings, these ear-rings of 
the sky-blue stone and sea-tears, and have thy hair 



THE KITCHEN GODS 271 

dressed and thy gowns perfumed, and place the two red 
circles on the smile of thy cheeks. To-night we will 
feast. Hast thou forgotten to-night is the Feast of 
the Lanterns, when all good Buddhists rejoice ?" 

He stood beside her rickshaw, in his imperial yellow 
garment hemmed with the rainbow waves of the sea, 
and smiled down into her eyes. 

" But the spirit God of love, the foreign-born spirit 
God ? " said Dong- Yung. " Shall we feast to him, too ? " 

" Nay, it is not fitting to feast to two gods at once," 
said Foh-Kyung. " Do as I have said." 

He left her. Dong- Yung, riding through the sun- 
splashed afternoon, buying coloured jewels and flowery 
perfume and making herself beautiful, yet felt uneasy. 
She had not quite understood. A dim knowledge ad- 
vanced toward her like a wall of fog. She pressed her 
two hands against it and held it off — held it off by sheer 
mental refusal to understand. In the courtyard at home 
the children were playing with their lighted animals, 
drawing their gaudy paper ducks, luminous with candle- 
light, to and fro on little standards set on four wheels. 
At the gate hung a tall red-and-white lantern, and over 
the roof floated a string of candle-lit balloons. In the 
ancestral hall the great wife had lit the red candles, 
speared on their slender spikes, before the tablets. In 
the kitchen the cooks and amahs were busy with the feast- 
cooking. Candles were stuck everywhere on the tables 
and benches. They threw little pools of light on the floor 
before the stove and looked at the empty niche. In the 
night it was merely a black hole in the stove filled with 
formless shadow. She wished — 

" Dong- Yung, Flower in the House, where hast thou 
hidden the kitchen gods? Put them in their place." 
Foh-Kyung, still in imperial yellow, stood like a sun 
in the doorway. 

Dong- Yung turned. 

" But " 

11 Put them back, little Jewel in the Hair. It is not 
permitted to worship the spirit God. There are bars 
and gates. The spirit of man must turn back in the 
searching, turn back to the images of plaster and paint." 



272 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Dong- Yung let the wall of fog slide over her. She 
dropped her resistance. She knew. 

" Nay, not the spirit of man. It is but natural that 
the great God does not wish the importunings of a small 
wife. Worship thou alone the great God, and the shadow 
of that worship will fall on my heart." 

"Nay, I cannot worship alone. My worship is not 
acceptable in the sight of the foreign God. My ways 
are not his ways." 

Foh-Kyung's face was unlined and calm, yet Dong- 
Yung felt the hidden agony of his soul, flung back from 
its quest upon gods of plaster and paint. 

" But I know the thoughts of thy heart, O Lord and 
Master, white and fragrant as the lily-buds that opened 
to-day. Has thy wish changed ? " 

" Nay, my wish is even the same, but it is not per- 
mitted to a man of two wives to be a follower of the 
spirit God." 

Dong- Yung had known it all along. This knowledge 
came with no surprise. It was she who kept him from 
the path of his desire ! 

" Put back the kitchen gods," said Foh-Kyung. " We 
will live and believe and die even as our fathers have 
done. The gate to the God of love is closed." 

The feast was served. In the sky one moon blotted 
out a world of stars. Foh-Kyung sat alone, smoking. 
Laughter and talk filled the women's wing. The amahs 
and coolies were resting outside. A thin reed of music 
crept in and out among the laughter and talk, from the 
reed flute of the cook. The kitchen was quite empty. 
One candle on the table sent up a long smoky tongue 
of flame. The fire still smouldered in the corner. A 
little wind shook the cypress-branches without, and car- 
ried the scent of the opened lilies into the room. 

Dong- Yung, still arrayed for feasting, went to the 
pigskin trunk in the corner, fitted the key from her belt 
into the carven brass wings of the butterfly, and lifted 
out the kitchen gods. One in each hand, she held them, 
green and gold. She put them back in their niche, and 
lifted up a bowl of rice to their feet, and beat her head 
on the ground before them. 



THE KITCHEN GODS 273 

" Forgive me, O my kitchen gods, forgive my in- 
jurious hands and heart; but the love of my master is 
even greater than my fear of thee. Thou and I, we 
bar the gates of heaven from him." 

When she had finished, she tiptoed around the room, 
touching the chairs and tables with caressing fingers. 
She stole out into the courtyard, and bent to inhale the 
lily fragrance, sweeter by night than by day. " An aus- 
picious day," the gate-keeper had said that morning. 
Foh-Kyung had stood beside her, with his feet in the 
sunshine ; she remembered the light in his eyes. She 
bent her head till the fingers of the lily-petals touched 
her cheek. She crept back through the house, and looked 
at Foh-Kyung smoking. His eyes were dull, even as 
are the eyes of sightless bronze Buddhas. No, she would 
never risk going in to speak to him. If she heard the 
sound of his voice, if he called her " little Flower of the 
House," she would never have the strength to go. So 
she stood in the doorway and looked at him much as 
one looks at a sun, till wherever else one looks, one sees 
the same sun against the sky. 

In the formless shadow she made a great obeisance, 
spreading out her arms and pressing the palms of her 
hands against the floor. 

" O my Lord and Master," she said, with her lips 
against the boards of the floor, softly, so that none might 
hear her — " O my Lord and Master, I go. Even a small 
wife may unbar the gates of heaven." 

First, before she went, she cast the two kitchen gods, 
green and gold, of ancient plaster, into the embers of the 
fire. There in the morning the cook-rice amahs found 
the onyx stones that had been their eyes. The house 
was still unlocked, the gate-keeper at the feast. Like a 
shadow she moved along the wall and through the gate. 
The smell of the lilies blew past her. Drums and chants 
echoed up the road, and the sounds of manifold feastings. 
She crept away down by the wall, where the moon laid 
a strip of blackness, crept away to unbar the gates of 
heaven for her lord and master. 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 

By EDNA FERBER 
From Ladies Home Journal 

MRS. HOSEA C. BREWSTER always cleaned 
house in September and April. She started with 
the attic and worked her purifying path down to the 
cellar in strict accordance with Article I, Section 1, Un- 
written Rules for House Cleaning. For twenty-five years 
she had done it. For twenty-five years she had hated it 
— being an intelligent woman. For twenty-five years, 
towel swathed about her head, skirt pinned back, sleeves 
rolled up — the costume dedicated to house cleaning since 
the days of What's-Her-Name, mother of Lemuel (see 
Proverbs) — Mrs. Brewster had gone through the cere- 
mony twice a year. 

Furniture on the porch, woolens on the line, mattresses 
in the yard — everything that could be pounded, beaten, 
whisked, rubbed, flapped, shaken or aired was dragged 
out and subjected to one or all of these indignities. 
After which, completely cowed, they were dragged in 
again and set in their places. Year after year, in attic 
and in cellar, things had piled up higher and higher — 
useless things, sentimental things ; things in trunks ; things 
in chests ; shelves full of things wrapped up in brown- 
paper parcels. 

And boxes — oh, above all, boxes; pasteboard boxes, 
long and flat, square and oblong, each bearing weird and 
cryptic pencillings on one end ; cryptic, that, is to anyone 
except Mrs. Brewster and you who have owned an attic. 
Thus " H's Fshg Tckl " jabberwocked one long slim box. 
Another stunned you with " Cur Ted Slpg Pch." A 
cabalistic third hid its contents under " Sip Cov Pinky 
Rm." To sav nothing of such curt yet intriguing frag- 
ments as " Blk Nt Drs " and " Sun Par Val." Once 

274 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 275 

you had the code key they translated themselves sim- 
ply enough into such homely items as Hosey's fishing 
tackle, canvas curtains for Ted's sleeping porch, slip- 
covers for Pinky's room, black net dress, sun-parlour 
valance. 

The contents of those boxes formed a commentary on 
normal American household life as lived by Mr. and Mrs. 
Hosea C. Brewster, of Winnebago, Wisconsin. Hosey's 
rheumatism had prohibited trout fishing these ten years ; 
Ted wrote from Arizona that " the liT ol' sky " was his 
sleeping-porch roof and you didn't have to worry out 
there about the neighbours seeing you in your pyjamas ; 
Pink's rose-cretonne room had lacked an occupant since 
Pinky left the Winnebago High School for the Chicago 
Art Institute, thence to New York and those amazingly 
successful magazine covers that stare up at you from 
your table — young lady, hollow chested (she'd need to be 
with that decolletage), carrying feather fan. You could 
tell a Brewster cover at sight, without the fan. That 
leaves the black net dress and sun-parlour valance. The 
first had grown too tight under the arms (Mrs. Brew- 
ster's arms) ; the second had faded. 

Now don't gather from this that Mrs. Brewster was 
an ample, pie-baking, ginghamed old soul who wore 
black silk and a crushed-looking hat with a palsied rose 
atop it. Nor that Hosea C. Brewster was spectacled and 
slippered. Not at all. The Hosea C. Brewsters, of Win- 
nebago, Wisconsin, were the people you've met on the 
veranda of the Moana Hotel at Honolulu, or at the top 
of Pike's Peak, or peering into the restless heart of 
Vesuvius. They were the prosperous Middle-Western 
type of citizen who runs down to Chicago to see the 
new plays and buy a hat, and to order a dozen Wedg- 
wood salad plates at Field's. 

Mrs. Brewster knew about Dunsany and Georgette 
and alligator pears ; and Hosea Brewster was in the habit 
of dropping around to the Elks' Club, up above Schir- 
mer's furniture store on Elm Street, at about five in the 
afternoon on his way home from the cold-storage plant. 
The Brewster house was honeycombed with sleeping 
porches and sun parlours and linen closets, and laundry 



276 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

chutes and vegetable bins and electric surprises as 
your well-to-do Middle-Western home is likely to 
be. 

That home had long ago grown too large for the two 
of them — physically, that is. But as the big frame 
house had expanded, so had they — intolerance and un- 
derstanding and humanness — until now, as you talked 
with them, you felt that there was room and to spare 
of sun-filled mental chambers, and shelves well stored 
with experience, and pantries and bins and closets for 
all your worries and confidences. 

But the attic! And the cellar! The attic was the 
kind of attic every woman longs for who hasn't one 
and every woman loathes who has. " If I only had some 
place to put things in ! " wails the first. And, " If it 
weren't for the attic I'd have thrown this stufT away long 
ago," complains the second. Mrs. Brewster herself had 
helped plan it. Hardwood floored, spacious light, the 
Brewster attic revealed to you the social, aesthetic, edu- 
cational and spiritual progress of the entire family as 
clearly as if a sociologist had chartered it. 

Take, for example (before we run down to the cellar 
for a minute), the crayon portraits of Gran'ma and 
Gran'pa Brewster. When Ted had been a junior and 
Pinky a freshman at the Winnebago High School the 
crayon portraits had beamed down upon them from the 
living-room wall. To each of these worthy old people 
the artist had given a pair of hectic pink cheeks. Gran'ma 
Brewster especially, simpering down at you from the 
labyrinthian scrolls of her sextuple gold frame, was 
rouged like a soubrette and further embellished with 
a pair of gentian-blue eyes behind steel-bowed specs. 
Pinky — and in fact the entire Brewster household — had 
thought these massive atrocities the last word in artistic 
ornament. By the time she reached her sophomore year, 
Pinky had prevailed upon her mother to banish them 
to the dining-room. Then two years later, when the 
Chicago decorator did over the living-room and the 
dining-room, the crayons were relegated to the upstairs 
hall. 

Ted and Pinky, away at school, began to bring their 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 277 

friends back with them for the vacations. Pinky's room 
had been done over in cream enamel and rose-flowered 
cretonne. She said the chromos in the hall spoiled the 
entire second floor. So the gold frames, glittering un- 
dimmed, the cheeks as rosily glowing as ever, found 
temporary resting-place in a nondescript back chamber 
known as the sewing room. Then the new sleeping porch 
was built for Ted, and the portraits ended their journey- 
ing in the attic. 

One paragraph will cover the cellar. Stationary tubs, 
laundry stove. Behind that, bin for potatoes, bin for 
carrots, bins for onions, apples, cabbages. Boxed shelves 
for preserves. And behind that Hosea C. Brewster's 
bete noir and plaything, tyrant and slave — the furnace. 
" She's eating up coal this winter," Hosea Brewster 
would complain. Or : " Give her a little more draft, 
Fred." Fred, of the furnace and lawn mower, would 
shake a doleful head. " She ain't drawin' good. I do' 
know what's got into her." 

By noon of this particular September day — a blue-and- 
gold Wisconsin September day — Mrs. Brewster had 
reached that stage in the cleaning of the attic when it 
looked as if it would never be clean and orderly again. 
Taking into consideration Miz' Merz (Mis' Merz by-the- 
day, you understand) and Gussie, the girl, and Fred, 
there was very little necessity for Mrs. Brewster's official 
house-cleaning uniform. She might have unpinned her 
skirt, unbound her head, rolled down her sleeves and 
left for the day, serene in the knowledge that no corner, 
no chandelier, no mirror, no curlicue so hidden, so high, 
so glittering, so ornate that it might hope to escape the 
rag or brush of one or the other of this relentless and 
expert crew. 

Every year, twice a year, as this box, that trunk or 
chest was opened and its contents revealed, Mis' Merz 
would say: "You keepin' this, Miz' Brewster?" 

" That ? Oh, dear yes ! " Or : " Well— I don't know. 
You can take that home with you if you want it. It 
might make over for Minnie." 

Yet why, in the name of all that's ridiculous, did she 
treasure the funeral wheat wreath in the walnut frame? 



278 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

Nothing is more passe than a last summer's hat, yet the 
leghorn and pink-cambric-rose thing in the tin trunk 
was the one Mrs. Brewster had worn when a bride. 
Then the plaid kilted dress with the black velvet monkey 
jacket that Pinky had worn when she spoke her first 
piece at the age of seven — well, these were things that 
even the rapacious eye of Miz' Merz (by-the-day) passed 
by unbrightened by covetousness. 

The smell of soap and water, and cedar, and moth 
balls, and dust, and the ghost of a perfumery that Pinky 
used to use pervaded the hot attic. Mrs. Brewster, head 
and shoulders in a trunk, was trying not to listen and 
not to seem not to listen to Miz' Merz' recital of her 
husband's relations' latest flagrancy. 

" ' Families is nix,' I says. ' I got my own fam'ly to 
look out f uh,' I says. Like that. ' Well,' s's he, ' w'en 

it comes to that' s's he, * I guess I got some ' " 

Punctuated by thumps, spatterings, swashings and much 
heavy breathing, so that the sound of light footsteps 
along the second-floor hallway, a young clear voice call- 
ing, then the same footsteps, fleeter now, on the attic 
stairway, were quite unheard. 

Pinky 's arm were around her mother's neck and for 
one awful moment it looked as if both were to be 
decapitated by the trunk lid, so violent had been Mrs. 
Brewster's start of surprise. 

Incoherent little cries, and sentences unfinished. 

" Pinky ! Why — my baby ! We didn't get your tele- 
gram. Did you " 

"No; I didn't. I just thought I Don't look so 

dazed, mummy You're all smudged too — what in 

the world ! " Pinky straightened her hat and looked 
about the attic. " Why, mother ! You're — you're house 
cleaning ! " There was a stunned sort of look on her 
face. Pinky's last visit home had been in June, all 
hammocks, and roses, and especially baked things, and 
motor trips into the country. 

" Of course. This is September. But if I'd known 

you were coming Come here to the window. Let 

mother see you. Is that the kind of hat they're — why, 
it's a winter one, isn't it? Already! Dear me, I've 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 279 

just got used to the angle of my summer one. You 
must telephone father." 

Miz' Merz, damply calicoed, rose from a corner and 
came forward, wiping a moist and parboiled hand on her 
skirt. " Ha' do, Pinky ? Ain't forgot your old friends, 
have you ? " 

" It's Mrs. Merz ! " Pinky put her cool, sweet fingers 
into the other woman's spongy clasp. " Why, hello, Mrs. 
Merz ! Of course when there's house cleaning — I'd for- 
gotten all about house cleaning — that there was such a 
thing, I mean." 

"It's got to be done," replied Miz' Merz severely. 

Pinky, suddenly looking like one of her own magazine 
covers (in tailor clothes), turned swiftly to her mother. 
" Nothing of the kind," she said crisply. She looked 
about the hot, dusty, littered room. She included and 
then banished it all with one sweeping gesture. " Noth- 
ing of the kind. This is — this is an anachronism." 

" Mebbe so," retorted Miz' Merz with equal crispness. 
" But it's got to be cleaned just the same. Yessir; it's 
got to be cleaned." 

They smiled at each other then, the mother and daugh- 
ter. They descended the winding attic stairs happily, 
talking very fast and interrupting each other. 

Mrs. Brewster's skirt was still pinned up. Her hair 
was bound in the protecting towel. " You must tele- 
phone father. No, let's surprise him. You'll hate the 
dinner — built around Miz' Merz; you know — boiled. 
Well, you know what a despot she is." 

It was hot for September, in Wisconsin. As they came 
out to the porch Pinky saw that there were tiny beads 
of moisture under her mother's eyes and about her chin. 
The sight infuriated her somehow. " Well, really, 
mother ! " 

Mrs. Brewster unpinned her skirt and smoothed it 
down and smiled at Pinky, all unconscious that she looked 
like a plump, pink Sister of Mercy with that towel bound 
tightly about her hair. With a swift movement Pinky 
unpinned the towel, unwound it, dabbed with it tenderly 
at her mother's chin and brow, rolled it into a vicious 
wad and hurled it through the open doorway. 



280 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

"Now just what does that mean?" said Mrs. Brew- 
ster equably. " Take off your hat and coat, Pinky, but 
don't treat them that way — unless that's the way they're 
doing in New York. Everything is so informal since 
the war." She had a pretty wit of her own, Mrs. 
Brewster. 

Of course Pinky laughed then, and kissed her mother 
and hugged her hard. " It's just that it seems so idiotic 
— your digging around in an attic in this day and age! 

Why it's — it's " Pinky could express herself much 

more clearly in colours than in words. " There is no 
such thing as an attic. People don't clean them any 
more. I never realized before — this huge house. It 
has been wonderful to come back to, of course. But 
just you and dad." She stopped. She raised two young 
fists high in important anger. " Do you like cleaning the 
attic?" 

" Why, no. I hate it." 

" Then why in the world " 

" I've always done it, Pinky. And while they may 
not be wearing attics in New York, we haven't taken 
them off in Winnebago. Come on up to your room, 
dear. It looks bare. If I'd known you were coming — 
the slip covers " 

" Are they in the box in the attic labeled ' Sip Cov 
Pinky Rum ' ? " She succeeded in slurring it ludicrously. 

It brought an appreciative giggle from Mrs. Brew- 
ster. A giggle need not be inconsistent with fifty years, 
especially if one's nose wrinkles up delightfully in the 
act. But no smile curved the daughter's stern young 
lips. Together they went up to Pinky 's old room (the 
older woman stopped to pick up the crumpled towel on 
the hall floor). On the way they paused at the door 
of Mrs. Brewster's bedroom, so cool, so spacious, all 
soft greys and blues. 

Suddenly Pinky's eyes widened with horror. She 
pointed an accusing forefinger at a large dark object 
in a corner near a window. " That's the old walnut 
desk ! " she exclaimed. 

" I know it." 

The girl turned, half amused, half annoyed. " Oh, 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 281 

mother dear! That's the situation in a nutshell. With- 
out a shadow of doubt, there's an eradicable streak of 
black walnut in your gray-enamel make-up." 

" Eradicable ! That's a grand word, Pinky. Stylish ! 
I never expected to meet it out of a book. And fu'ther- 
more, as Miz' Merz would say, I didn't know there 
was any situation." 

" I meant the attic. And it's more than a situation. 
It's a state of mind." 

Mrs. Brewster had disappeared into the depths of 
her clothes closet. Her voice sounded muffled. " Pinky, 
you're talking the way they did at that tea you gave 
for father and me when we visited New York last win- 
ter." She emerged with a cool-looking blue kimono. 
" Here. Put this on. Father'll be home at twelve- 
thirty, for dinner, you know. You'll want a bath, won't 
you, dear ? " 

" Yes. Mummy, is it boiled — honestly ? — on a day 
like this?" 

" With onions," said Mrs. Brewster firmly. 

Fifteen minutes later Pinky, splashing in a cool tub, 
heard the voice of Miz' Merz, high-pitched with excite- 
ment and a certain awful joy : " Miz' Brewster ! Oh, 
Miz' Brewster ! I found a moth in Mr. Brewster's win- 
ter flannels ! " 

" Oh ! " in choked accents of fury from Pinky ; and 
she brought a hard young fist down in the water — 
spat ! — so that it splashed ceiling, hair and floor im- 
partially. 

Still, it was a cool and serene young daughter who 
greeted Hosea Brewster as he came limping up the 
porch stairs. He placed the flat of the foot down at 
each step, instead of heel and ball. It gave him a queer, 
hitching gait. The girl felt a sharp little constriction 
of her throat as she marked that rheumatic limp. " It's 
the beastly Wisconsin winters," she told herself. Then, 
darting out at him from the corner where she had been 
hiding: "S'prise! S'prise!" 

His plump blond face, flushed with the unwonted 
heat, went darkly red. I Ie dropped his hat. His arms 
gathered her in. Her fresh young check was pressed 



282 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

against his dear, prickly one. So they stood for a long 
minute — close. 

" Need a shave, dad." 

" Well, gosh, how did I know my best girl was com- 
ing !" He held her off. "What's the matter, Pink? 
Don't they like your covers any more ? " 

" Not a thing, Hosey. Don't get fresh. They're re- 
decorating my studio — you know — plasterers and stuff. 
I couldn't work. And I was lonesome for you." 

Hosea Brewster went to the open doorway and gave 
a long whistle with a little quirk at the end. Then he 
came back to Pinky in the wide-seated porch swing. 
" You know," he said, his voice lowered confidentially, 
" I thought I'd take mother to New York for ten days 
or so. See the shows, and run around and eat at the 
dens of wickedness. She likes it for a change." 

Pinky sat up, tense. " For a change ? Dad, I want 
to talk to you about that. Mother needs " 

Mrs. Brewster's light footstep sounded in the hall. 
She wore an all-enveloping gingham apron. " How did 
you like your surprise, father ? " She came over to 
him and kissed the top of his head. " I'm getting din- 
ner so that Gussie can go on with the attic. Every- 
thing's ready if you want to come in. I didn't want 
to dish up until you were at the table, so's everything 
would be hot." She threw a laughing glance at Pinky. 

But when they were seated, there appeared a platter 
of cold, thinly sliced ham for Pinky, and a crisp salad, 
and a featherweight cheese souffle, and iced tea, and 
a dessert coolly capped with whipped cream. 

" But, mother, you shouldn't have " feebly. 

" There are always a lot of things in the house. You 
know that. I just wanted to tease you." 

Father Brewster lingered for an unwonted hour after 
the midday meal. But two o'clock found him back at 
the cold-storage plant. Pinky watched him go, a specu- 
lative look in her eyes. 

She visited the attic that afternoon at four, when it 
was again neat, clean, orderly, smelling of soap and 
sunshine. Standing there in the centre of the big room, 
freshly napped, smartly coiffed, blue-serged, trim, the 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 283 

very concentrated essence of modernity, she eyed with 
stern deliberation the funeral wheat wreath in its wal- 
nut frame; the trunks; the chests; the boxes all shelved 
and neatly inscribed with their " H's Fshg Tckl " and 
"Blk Nt Drs." 

" Barbaric ! " she said aloud, though she stood there 
alone. " Medieval ! Mad ! It has got to be stopped. 
Slavery ! " After which she went downstairs and picked 
golden glow for the living-room vases and scarlet salvia 
for the bowl in the dining-room. 

Still, as one saw Mrs. Brewster's tired droop at sup- 
per that night, there is no denying that there seemed 
some justification for Pinky's volcanic remarks. 

Hosea Brewster announced, after supper, that he and 
Fred were going to have a session with the furnace ; 
she needed going over in September before they began 
firing up for the winter. 

" I'll go down with you," said Pinky. 

" No, you stay up here with mother. You'll get all 
ashes and coal dust." 

But Pinky was firm. " Mother's half dead. She's 
going straight up to bed, after that darned old attic. 
I'll come up to tuck you in, mummy." 

And though she did not descend to the cellar until 
the overhauling process was nearly completed she did 
come down in time for the last of the scene. She 
perched at the foot of the stairs and watched the two 
men, overalled, sooty, tobacco-wreathed and happy. 
When, finally, Hosea Brewster knocked the ashes out 
of his stubby black pipe, dusted his sooty hands to- 
gether briskly and began to peel his overalls, Pinky 
came forward. 

She put her hand on his arm. " Dad, I want to 
talk to you." 

" Careful there. Better not touch me. I'm all dirt. 
G'night, Fred." 

" Listen, dad. Mother isn't well." 

He stopped then, with one overall leg off and the 
other on, and looked at her. " Huh? What d'you mean 
— isn't well? Mother." His mouth was open. His 
eyes looked suddenly strained. 



284 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

" This house — it's killing her. She could hardly keep 
her eyes open at supper. It's too much for her. She 
ought to be enjoying herself — like other women. She's 
a slave to the attic and all those huge rooms. And 
you're another." 

"Me?" feebly. 

" Yes. A slave to this furnace. You said yourself 
to Fred, just now, that it was all worn out, and needed 
new pipes or something — I don't know what. And that 
coal was so high it would be cheaper using dollar bills 
for fuel. Oh, I know you were just being funny. But 
it was partly true. Wasn't it ? Wasn't it ? " 

" Yen, but listen here, Paula." He never called her 
Paula unless he was terribly disturbed. " About mother 
— you said " 

"You and she ought to go away this winter — not just 
for a trip, but to stay. You " — she drew a long breath 
and made the plunge — " you ought to give up the house." 

" Give up " 

" Permanently. Mother and you are buried alive here. 
You ought to come to New York to live. Both of you 
will love it when you are there for a few days. I 
don't mean to come to a hotel. I mean to take a little 
apartment, a furnished apartment at first to see how 
you like it — two rooms and kitchenette, like a play- 
house." 

Hosey Brewster looked down at his own big bulk. 
Then around the great furnace room. " Oh, but lis- 
ten " 

" No, I want you to listen first. Mother's worn out, 
I tell you. It isn't as if she were the old-fashioned 
kind; she isn't. She loves the theatres, and pretty hats, 
and shoes with buckles, and lobster, and concerts." 

He broke in again : " Sure ; she likes 'em for change. 

But for a steady diet Besides, I've got a business 

to 'tend to. My gosh ! I've got a business to " 

" You know perfectly well that Wetzler practically 
runs the whole thing — or could, if you'd let him." Youth 
is cruel like that, when it wants its way. 

He did not even deny it. He seemed suddenly old. 
Pinky 's heart smote her a little. " It's just that you've 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 285 

got so used to this great barracks you don't know how 
unhappy it's making you. Why, mother said to-day 
that she hated it. I asked about the attic — the cleaning 
and all — and she said she hated it." 

"Did she say that, Paula?" 

" Yes." 

He dusted his hands together, slowly, spiritlessly. His 
eyes looked pained and dull. " She did, h'm? You 
say she did ? " He was talking to himself, and think- 
ing, thinking. 

Pinky, sensing victory, left him. She ran lightly up 
the cellar stairs, through the first-floor rooms and up 
to the second floor. Her mother's bedroom door was 
open. 

A little mauve lamp shed its glow upon the tired 
woman in one of the plump, grey-enamel beds. " No, 
I'm not sleeping. Come here, dear. What in the world 
have you been doing in the cellar all this time ? " 

" Talking to dad." She came over and perched her- 
self on the side of the bed. She looked down at her 
mother. Then she bent and kissed her. Mrs. Brew- 
ster looked incredibly girlish with the lamp's rosy glow 
on her face and her hair, warmly brown and profuse, 
rippling out over the pillow. Scarcely a thread of grey 
in it. " You know, mother, I think dad isn't well. He 
ought to go away." 

As if by magic the youth and glow faded out of the 
face on the pillow. As she sat up, clutching her night- 
gown to her breast, she looked suddenly pinched and 
old. " What do you mean, Pinky ! Father — but he 
isn't sick. He " 

" Not sick. I don't mean sick exactly. But sort of 
worn out. That furnace. He's sick and tired of the 
thing; that's what he said to Fred. He needs a change. 
He ought to retire and enjoy life. He could. This 
house is killing both of you. Why in the world don't 
you close it up, or sell it, and come to New York ? " 

" But we do. We did. Last winter " 

" I don't mean just for a little trip. I mean to live. 
Take a little two-room apartment in one of the new 
buildings — near my studio — and relax. Enjoy your- 



286 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

selves. Meet new men and women. Live! You're in 
a rut — both of you. Besides, dad needs it. That rheu- 
matism of his, with these Wisconsin winters " 

" But California — we could go to California for- 



That's only a stop-gap. Get your little place in 
New York all settled, and then run away whenever you 
like, without feeling that this great bulk of a house 
is waiting for you. Father hates it ; I know it." 

"Did he ever say so?" 

" Well, practically. He thinks you're fond of it. 
He " 

Slow steps ascending the stairs — heavy, painful steps. 
The two women listened in silence. Every footfall 
seemed to emphasize Pinky's words. The older woman 
turned her face toward the sound, her lips parted, her 
eyes anxious, tender. 

" How tired he sounds," said Pinky ; " and old. And 
he's only — why, dad's only fifty-eight." 

" Fifty-seven," snapped Mrs. Brewster sharply, pro- 
tectingly. 

Pinky leaned forward and kissed her. " Good night, 
mummy dear. You're so tired, aren't you ? " 

Her father stood in the doorway. 

" Good night, dear. I ought to be tucking you into 
bed. It's all turned around, isn't it? Biscuits and honey 
for breakfast, remember." 

So Pinky went off to her own room (sans " sip cov ") 
and slept soundly, dreamlessly, as does one whose work 
is well done. 

Three days later Pinky left. She waved a good-bye 
from the car platform, a radiant, electric, confident 
Pinky, her work well done. 

"Au 'voir! The first of November! Everything be- 
gins then. You'll love it. You'll be real New Yorkers 
by Christmas. Now, no changing your minds, re- 
member." 

And by Christmas, somehow, miraculously, there they 
were, real New Yorkers; or as real and as New York 
as anyone can be who is living in a studio apartment 
(duplex) that has been rented (furnished) from a lady 
who turned out to be from Des Moines. 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 287 

When they arrived, Pinky had four apartments wait- 
ing for their inspection. She told them this in triumph, 
and well she might, it being the winter after the war, 
when New York apartments were as scarce as black 
diamonds and twice as costly. 

Father Brewster, on hearing the price, emitted a long, 
low whistle and said : " How many rooms did you say ? " 

" Two — and a kitchenette, of course." 

" Well, then, all I can say is the furniture ought 
to be solid gold for that; inlaid with rubies and picked 
out with platinum." 

But it wasn't. In fact, it wasn't solid anything, being 
mostly of a very impermanent structure and style. Pinky 
explained that she had kept the best for the last. The 
thing that worried Father Brewster was that, no mat- 
ter at what hour of the day they might happen to call 
on the prospective lessor, that person was always fem- 
inine and hatted. Once it was eleven in the morning. 
Once five in the afternoon. 

" Do these New York women wear hats in the house 
all the time ? " demanded Hosea Brewster worriedly. 
" I think they sleep in 'em. It's a wonder they ain't 
bald. Maybe they are. Maybe that's why. Anyway, 
it makes you feel like a book agent." 

He sounded excited and tired. " Now, father ! " said 
Mrs. Brewster, soothingly. 

They were in the elevator that was taking them up 
to the fourth and (according to Pinky) choicest apart- 
ment. The building was what is known as a studio 
apartment, in the West Sixties. The corridors were 
done in red flagstones, with grey-tone walls. The metal 
doors were painted grey. 

Pinky was snickering. " Now she'll say : * Well, we've 
been very comfortable here.' They always do. Don't 
look too eager." 

" No fear," put in Hosey Brewster. 

" It's really lovely. And a real fireplace. Everything 
new and good. She's asking two hundred and twenty- 
five. Offer her one seventy-five. She'll take two hun- 
dred." 

" You bet she will," growled Hosea. 



288 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

She answered the door — hatted; hatted in henna, that 
being the season's chosen colour. A small dark foyer, 
overcrowded with furniture ; a studio living-room, bright, 
high-ceilinged, smallish ; one entire side was window. 
There were Japanese prints, and a baby grand piano, and 
a lot of tables, and a davenport placed the way they do 
it on the stage, with its back to the room and its arms 
to the fireplace, and a long table just behind it, with a 
lamp on it, and books, and a dull jar thing, just as you've 
seen it in the second-act library. 

Hosea Brewster twisted his head around and up to 
gaze at the lofty ceiling. " Feel's if I was standing at 
the bottom of a well," he remarked. 

But the hatted one did not hear him. " No ; no dining- 
room," she was saying briskly. " No, indeed. I 
always use this gate-legged table. You see? It pulls 
out like this. You can easily seat six — eight, in 
fact." 

"Heaven forbid!" in fervent sotto voce from Father 
Brewster. 

" It's an enormous saving in time and labour." 

" The — kitchen ! " inquired Mrs. Brewster. 

The hat waxed playful. " You'll never guess where 
the kitchen is ! " She skipped across the room. " You 
see this screen ? " They saw it. A really handsome 
affair, and so placed at one end of the room that it 
looked a part of it. " Come here." They came. The 
reverse side of the screen was dotted with hooks, and 
on each hook hung a pot, a pan, a ladle, a spoon. And 
there was the tiny gas range, the infinitesimal ice chest, 
the miniature sink. The whole would have been lost 
in one corner of the Brewstei's Winnebago china 
closet. 

" Why, how — how wonderful ! " breathed Mrs. Brew- 
ster. 

"Isn't it? So complete — and so convenient. I've 
cooked roasts, steaks, chops, everything, right here. It's 
just play." 

A terrible fear seized upon Father Brewster. He eyed 
the sink and the tiny range with a suspicious eye. " The 
beds," he demanded, " where are the beds ? " 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 289 

She opened the little oven door and his heart sank. 
But, " They're upstairs," she said. " This is a duplex, 
you know." 

A little flight of winding stairs ended in a balcony. 
The rail was hung with a gay mandarin robe. Two 
more steps and you were in the bedroom — a rather 
breathless little bedroom, profusely rose-coloured, and 
with whole battalions of photographs in flat silver frames 
standing about on dressing table, shelf, desk. The one 
window faced a grey brick wall. 

They took the apartment. And thus began a life of 
ease and gayety for Mr. and Mrs. Hosea C. Brewster, 
of Winnebago, Wisconsin. 

Pinky had dinner with them the first night, and they 
laughed a great deal, what with one thing and another. 
She sprang up to the balcony, and let down her bright 
hair, and leaned over the railing, a la Juliet, having first 
decked Hosey out in a sketchy but effective Romeo cos- 
tume, consisting of a hastily snatched up scarf over one 
shoulder, Pinky's little turban, and a frying pan for a 
lute. Mother Brewster did the Nurse, and by the time 
Hosea began his limping climb up the balcony, the tur- 
ban over one eye and the scarf winding itself about his 
stocky legs, they ended by tumbling in a heap of tearful 
laughter. 

After Pinky left there came upon them, in that cozy, 
little, two-room apartment, a feeling of desolation and 
vastness, and a terrible loneliness such as they had never 
dreamed of in the great twelve-room house in Winne- 
bago. They kept close to each other. They toiled up 
the winding stairs together and stood a moment on the 
balcony, feigning a light-heartedness that neither of them 
felt. 

They lay very still in the little stuffy rose-coloured 
room, and the street noises of New York came up to 
them — a loose chain flapping against the mud guard of 
a taxi ; the jolt of a flat-wheeled Eighth Avenue street 
car ; the roar of an L train ; laughter ; the bleat of a 
motor horn ; a piano in the apartment next door, or 
upstairs, or down. 

She thought, as she lay there, choking of the great 



290 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

gracious grey-and-blue room at home, many-windowed, 
sweet-smelling, quiet. Quiet ! 

He thought, as he lay there, choking, of the gracious 
grey-blue room at home ; many-windowed, sweet-smell- 
ing, quiet. Quiet ! 

Then, as he had said that night in September : " Sleep- 
ing, mother ? " 

" N-no. Not yet. Just dozing off." 

" It's the strange beds, I guess. This is going to be 
great, though. Great ! " 

" My, yes ! " agreed Mrs. Brewster, heartily. 

They awoke next morning unrefreshed. Pa Brew- 
ster, back home in Winnebago, always whistled mourn- 
fully, off key, when he shaved. The more doleful his 
tune the happier his wife knew him to be. Also, she 
had learned to mark his progress by this or that pas- 
sage in a refrain. Sometimes he sang, too (also off 
key), and you heard his genial roar all over the house. 
The louder he roared, and the more doleful the tune, 
the happier his frame of mind. Milly Brewster knew 
this. She had never known that she knew it. Neither 
had he. It was just one of those subconscious bits of 
marital knowledge that make for happiness and under- 
standing. 

When he sang " The Dying Cowboy's Lament " and 
came to the passage, " Oh, take me to the churchyard 
and lay the sod o-o-over me," Mrs. Brewster used to 
say : " Gussie, Mr. Brewster'll be down in ten minutes. 
You can start the eggs." 

In the months of their gay life in Sixty-seventh Street, 
Hosey Brewster never once sang " The Dying Cowboy's 
Lament," nor whistled " In the Sweet By-and-By." No ; 
he whistled not at all, or, when he did, gay bits of jazz 
heard at the theatre or in a restaurant the night before. 
He deceived no one, least of all himself. Sometimes 
his voice would trail off into nothingness, but he would 
catch the tune and toss it up again, heavily, as though 
it were a physical weight. 

Theatres! Music! Restaurants! Teas! Shopping J 
The gay life ! 

"Enjoying yourself, Milly?" he would say. 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 291 

" Time of my life, father." 

She had had her hair dressed in those geometrical, un- 
dulations without which no New York audience feels 
itself clothed. They saw Pinky less frequently as time 
went on and her feeling or responsibility lessened. Be- 
sides, the magazine covers took most of her day. She 
gave a tea for her father and mother at her own studio, 
and Mrs. Brewster's hat, slippers, gown and manner 
equalled in line, style, cut and texture those of any other 
woman present, which rather surprised her until she had 
talked to five or six of them. 

She and Hosey drifted together and compared notes. 
" Say, Milly," he confided, " they're all from Wisconsin 
— or approximately ; Michigan and Minnesota, and Iowa, 
and around. Far's I can make out there's only one New 
Yorker, really, in the whole caboodle of 'em." 

"Which one?" 

" That kind of plain little one over there — sensible 
looking, with the blue suit. I was talking to her. She 
was born right here in New York, but she doesn't live 
here — that is, not in the city. Lives in some place in 
the country, in a house." 

A sort of look came into Mrs. Brewster's eyes. " Is 
that so? I'd like to talk to her, Hosey. Take me 
over." 

She did talk to the quiet little woman in the plain 
blue suit. And the quiet little woman said : " Oh, dear, 
yes ! " She ignored her r's fascinatingly, as New York- 
ers do. " We live in Connecticut. You see, you Wis- 
consin people have crowded us out of New York ; no 
breathing space. Besides, how can one live here? I 
mean to say — live. And then the children — it's no place 
for children, grown up or otherwise. I love it — oh, 
yes, indeed. I love it. But it's too difficult." 

Mrs. Brewster defended it like a true Westerner. 
" But if you have just a tiny apartment, with a kitch- 
enette " 

The New York woman laughed. There was noth- 
ing malicious about her. But she laughed. " I tried it. 
There's one corner of my soul that's still wrinkled from 
the crushing. Everything in a heap. Not to speak of 



292 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

the slavery of it. That — that deceitful, lying kitchen- 
ette." 

This was the first woman that Mrs. Brewster had 
talked to — really talked to — since leaving Winnebago. 
And she liked women. She missed them. At first she 
had eyed wonderingly, speculatively, the women she saw 
on Fifth Avenue. Swathed luxuriously in precious 
pelts, marvelously coiffed and hatted, wearing the frail- 
est of boots and hose, exhaling a mysterious, heady 
scent, they were more like strange exotic birds than 
women. 

The clerks in the shops, too — they were so remote, 
so contemptuous. When she went into Gerretson's, back 
home, Nellie Monahan was likely to say : " YouVe cer- 
tainly had a lot of wear out of that blue, Mrs. Brewster. 
Let's see, you've had it two — three years this spring? 
My land! Let me show you our new taupes." 

Pa Brewster had taken to conversing with the door- 
man. That adamantine individual, unaccustomed to be- 
ing addressed as a human being, was startled at first, 
surly and distrustful. But he mellowed under Hosey's 
simple and friendly advances. They became quite pals, 
these two — perhaps two as lonely men as you could find 
in all lonely New York. 

" I guess you ain't a New Yorker, huh ? " Mike said. 

"Me? No." 

" Th' most of the folks in th' buildin' ain't." 

" Ain't ! " Hosea Brewster was startled into it. 
"They're artists, aren't they? Most of 'em?" 

" No ! Out-of-town folks, like you. West, East an' 
Californy, an' around there. Livin' here, though. Seem 
t' like it better'n where they come from. I dunno." 

Hosey Brewster took to eying them as Mrs. Brewster 
had eyed the women. He wondered about them, these 
tight, trim men, rather short of breath, buttoned so 
snugly into their shining shoes and their tailored clothes, 
with their necks bulging in a fold of fat above the back 
of their white linen collar. He knew that he would never 
be like them. It wasn't his square-toe shoes that made 
the difference, or his grey hat, or his baggy trousers. 
It was something inside him — something he lacked, he 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 293 

thought. It never occurred to him that it was some- 
thing he possessed that they did not. 

"Enjoying yourself, Milly?" 

" I should say I am, father." 

" That's good. No housework and responsibility to 
this, is there ? " 

" It's play." 

She hated the toy gas stove, and the tiny ice chest 
and the screen pantry. All her married life she had 
kept house in a big, bounteous way ; apples in barrels ; 
butter in firkins ; flour in sacks ; eggs in boxes ; sugar in 
bins; cream in crocks. Sometimes she told herself, bit- 
terly, that it was easier to keep twelve rooms tidy and 
habitable than one combination kitchen-dining-and-liv- 
ing room. 

" Chops taste good, Hosey ? " 

" Grand. But you oughtn't to be cooking around like 
this. We'll eat out to-morrow night somewhere, and 
go to a show." 

"You're enjoying it, aren't you, Hosey, h'm?" 

"It's the life, mother! It's the life!" 

His ruddy colour began to fade. He took to haunting 
department-store kitchenware sections. He would come 
home with a new kind of cream whipper, or a patent 
device for the bathroom. He would tinker happily with 
this, driving a nail, adjusting a screw. At such times 
he was even known to begin to whistle some scrap of 
a doleful tune such as he used to hum. But he would 
change, quickly, into something lively. The price of 
butter, eggs, milk, cream and the like horrified his Wis- 
consin cold-storage sensibilities. He used often to go 
down to Fulton Market before daylight and walk about 
among the stalls and shops, piled with tons of food of all 
kinds. He would talk to the marketmen, and the buyers 
and grocers, and come away feeling almost happy for 
a time. 

Then, one day, with a sort of shock, he remembered 
a farmer he had known back home in Winnebago. He 
knew the farmers for miles around, naturally, in his 
business. This man had been a steady butter-and-egg 
acquaintance, one of the wealthy farmers in that pros- 



294 PRIZE STORIES 19 19 

perous farming community. For his family's sake he 
had moved into town, a ruddy, rufous-bearded, clump- 
ing fellow, intelligent, kindly. They had sold the farm 
with a fine profit and had taken a boxlike house on 
Franklin Street. He had nothing to do but enjoy him- 
self. You saw him out on the porch early, very early 
summer mornings. 

You saw him ambling about the yard, poking at a 
weed here, a plant there. A terrible loneliness was upon 
him; a loneliness for the soil he had deserted. And 
slowly, resistlessly, the soil pulled at him with its black 
strength and its green tendrils, down, down, until he 
ceased to struggle and lay there clasped gently to her 
breast, the mistress he had thought to desert and who 
had him again at last, and forever. 

" I don't know what ailed him," his widow had said, 
weeping. " He just seemed to kind of pine away." 

It was one morning in April — one soft, golden April 
morning — when this memory had struck Hosey Brew- 
ster. He had been down at Fulton Market. Something 
about the place — the dewy fresh vegetables, the crates 
of eggs, the butter, the cheese — had brought such a 
surge of homesickness to him as to amount to an actual 
nausea. Riding uptown in the subway he had caught 
a glimpse of himself in a slot-machine mirror. His face 
was pale and somehow shrunken. He looked at his 
hands. The skin hung loose where the little pads of 
fat had plumped them out. 

" Gosh ! " he said. " Gosh, I " 

He thought, then, of the red-faced farmer who used 
to come clumping into the cold-storage warehouse in his 
big boots and his buffalo coat. A great fear swept over 
him and left him weak and sick. 

The chill grandeur of the studio-building foyer stab- 
bed him. The glittering lift made him dizzy, somehow, 
this morning. He shouldn't have gone out without some 
breakfast perhaps. He walked down the flagged cor- 
ridor softly; turned the key ever so cautiously. She 
might still be sleeping. He turned the knob, gently; 
tiptoed in and, turning, fell over a heavy wooden object 
that lay directly in his path in the dim little hall. 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 295 

A barked shin. A good round oath. 

"Hosey! What's the matter? What " She 

came running to him. She led him into the bright front 
room. 

" What was that thing ? A box or something, right 
there in front of the door. What the " 

" Oh, I'm so sorry, Hosey. You sometimes have 
breakfast downtown. I didn't know " 

Something in her voice — he stopped rubbing the in- 
jured shin to look up at her. Then he straightened 
slowly, his mouth ludicrously open. Her head was bound 
in a white towel. Her skirt was pinned back. Her 
sleeves were rolled up. Chairs, tables, rugs, ornaments 
were huddled in a promiscuous heap. Mrs. Hosea C. 
Brewster was cleaning house. 

"Milly!" he began, sternly. "And that's just the 
thing you came here to get away from. If Pinky " 

" I didn't mean to, father. But when I got up this 
morning there was a letter — a letter from the woman 
who owns this apartment, you know. She asked if I'd 
go to the hall closet — the one she reserved for her own 
things, you know — and unlock it, and get out a box she 
told me about, and have the hall boy express it to her. 
And I did, and— look ! " 

Limping a little he followed her. She turned on the 
light that hung in the closet. Boxes — pasteboard boxes 
— each one bearing a cryptic penciling on the end 
that stared out at you. " Drp Stud Win," said one ; 
"Sum Sip Cov Bedrm," another; "Toil. Set & Pic. 
Frms." 

Mrs. Brewster turned to her husband, almost shame- 
facedly, and yet with a little air of defiance. " It — I 
don't know — it made me — not homesick, Hosey. Not 
homesick, exactly ; but — well, I guess I'm not the only 
woman with a walnut streak in her modern make-up. 
Here's the woman — she came to the door with her hat 
on, and yet " 

Truth — blinding, white-hot truth — burst in upon him. 
" Mother," he said — and he stood up, suddenly robust, 
virile, alert — " mother, let's go home." 

Mechanically she began to unpin the looped-back skill. 



296 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

"When?" 

" Now." 

" But, Hosey ! Pinky — this flat — until June " 

" Now ! Unless you want to stay. Unless you like 
it here in this — this make-believe, double-barreled, du- 
plex do-funny of a studio thing. Let's go home, mother. 
Let's go home — and breathe." 

In Wisconsin you are likely to find snow in April — 
snow or slush. The Brewsters found both. Yet on 
their way up from the station in 'Gene Buck's flivver 
taxi, they beamed out at it as if it were a carpet of 
daisies. 

At the corner of Elm and Jackson Streets Hosey 
Brewster stuck his head out of the window. " Stoj. 
here a minute, will you, 'Gene ? " 

They stopped in front of Hengel's meat market, and 
Hosey went in. Mrs. Brewster leaned back without 
comment. 

Inside the shop. " Well, I see you're back from the 
East," said Aug Hengel. 

" Yep." 

" We thought you'd given us the go-by, you stayed 
away so long." 

" No, sir-ree ! Say, Aug, give me that piece of bacon 
— the big piece. And send me up some corned beef to- 
morrow, for corned beef and cabbage. I'll take a steak 
along for to-night. Oh, about four pounds. That's 
right." 

It seemed to him that nothing less than a side of 
beef could take out of his mouth the taste of those 
fiddling little lamb chops and the restaurant fare of the 
past six months. 

All through the winter Fred had kept up a little heat 
in the house, with an eye to frozen water pipes. But 
there was a chill upon the place as they opened the door 
now. It was late afternoon. The house was very still, 
with the stillness of a dwelling that has long been unin- 
habited. The two stood there a moment, peering into 
the darkened rooms. Then Hosea Brewster strode for- 
ward, jerked up this curtain, that curtain with a sharp 
snap, flap ! He stamped his feet to rid them of slush. 



APRIL 25TH, AS USUAL 297 

He took off his hat and threw it high in the air and 
opened his arms wide and emitted a whoop of sheer joy 
and relief. 

" Welcome home ! Home ! " 

She clung to him. " Oh, Hosey, isn't it wonderful ? 
How big it looks ! Huge ! " 

" Land, yes/' He strode from hall to dining-room, 
from kitchen to library. " I know how a jack-in-the- 
box feels when the lid's opened. No wonder it grins 
and throws out its arms." 

They did little talking after that. By five o'clock he 
was down in the cellar. She heard him making a great 
sound of rattling and bumping and shaking and pound- 
ing and shoveling. She smelled the acrid odour of his 
stubby black pipe. 

" Hosey ! " — from the top of the cellar stairs. " Hosey, 
bring up a can of preserves when you come." 

"What?" 

" Can of preserves." 

"What kind?" 

" Any kind you like." 

" Can I have two kinds ? " 

He brought up quince marmalade and her choicest 
damson plums. He put them down on the kitchen 
table and looked around, spatting his hands together 
briskly to rid them of dust. " She's burning pretty good 
now. That Fred ! Don't any more know how to handle 
a boiler than a baby does. Is the house getting 
warmer? " 

He clumped into the dining-room, through the but- 
ler's pantry, but he was back again in a wink, his eyes 
round. " Why, say, mother ! You've got out the best 
dishes, and the silver, and the candles and all. And 
the tablecloth with the do-dads on it. Why " 

" I know it." She opened the oven door, took out 
a pan of biscuits and slid it deftly to one side. " It 
seems as if I can't spread enough. I'm going to use 
the biggest platters, and I've put two extra boards in 
the table. It's big enough to seat ten. I want every- 
thing big somehow. I've cooked enough potatoes for 
a regiment, and I know it's wasteful, and I don't care. 



298 PRIZE STORIES 1919 

I'll eat in my kitchen apron, if you'll keep on your over- 
alls. Come on." 

He cut into the steak — a great thick slice. He knew 
she could never eat it, and she knew she could never 
eat it. But she did eat it all, ecstatically. And in a sort 
of ecstatic Nirvana the quiet and vastness and peace of 
the big old frame house settled down upon them. 

The telephone in the hall rang startlingly, unex- 
pectedly. 

" Let me go, Milly." 

" But who in the world ! Nobody knows we're " 

He was at the telephone. " Who? Who? Oh." He 
turned: "It's Miz' Merz. She says her little Minnie 

went by at six and saw a light in the house. She 

Hello! What? . . . She says she wants to know if she's 
to save time for you at the end of the month for the 
April cleaning." 

Mrs. Brewster took the receiver from him : " The 
twenty-fifth, as usual, Miz' Merz. The twenty-fifth, as 
usual. The attic must be a sight." 



THE END 


















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